Intel's next-gen 'Broadwell' chip arrives in first mobile device

Chip giant shows off its hybrid mobile PC chops by tapping its next-generation "Broadwell" processor at a Computex keynote. Other highlights include new gaming Core series chips and a tiny quad-core SoFIA processor with LTE.

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Llama Mountain: Intel's new 'Core M' processor powers the chipmaker's Llama Mountain reference design. It's thinner than the iPad Air. Intel

Intel President President Renée James will kick off the chipmaker's activities at the Computex conference, highlighted by a debut of a next-gen "Broadwell" chip in an Intel device.

James will disclose the "world's first 14 [nanometer] fanless mobile PC reference design" from Intel based on the company's upcoming Broadwell processor.

Broadwell is a 14-nanometer "shrink" -- in which the transistor geometries are reduced -- of the existing (and widely-used) 22-nanometer Haswell processor. The smaller circuits result in a design that can enable more compact devices.

The Llama Mountain device (see photos) is powered by the Broadwell Y series silicon, which will be branded the "Core M" processor. "The most energy efficient Core processor in the company's history," Intel said in a statement.

Llama Mountain sports a 12.5-inch screen and is 7.2mm thick (0.28 inches) with the keyboard detached and weighs in at 670 grams (1.47 pounds).

"The majority of designs based on this new chip are expected to be fanless and deliver both a lightning-fast tablet and a razor-thin laptop," Intel said.

When a device is fanless, it indicates that the silicon is highly power efficient. Smartphones and tablets using processors from ARM -- an Intel rival -- are fanless, for example.

Update: Asus showed off the Transformer Book T300 Chi, whose dimensions are similar to Intel's Llama Mountain.

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Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi is similar to the Intel Llama Mountain design. It sports a 12.5-inch 2,560x1,440-pixel resolution display, is 7.3mm thick, and uses Intel's new 'Broadwell" Core M processor. Aloysius Low/CNET

Other highlights of her keynote include:

Foxconn tablets: Foxconn executive Young Liu showcases more than 10 Intel-based tablets available now or coming soon. Those include tablets based on the Bay Trail processor and "many" will include built-in 3G or LTE communications.

Fast LTE silicon: Category 6-capable Intel XMM 7260 "LTE-Advanced" chip is now shipping to customers for interoperability testing. This new technology is expected to appear in devices in the months ahead, Intel said.

Quad-core SoFIA: A quad-core version of the SoFIA LTE system-on-a-chip for low-cost phones and tablets is due in the first half of 2015. This comes in the wake of an agreement with Rockchip to "add a quad-core 3G derivative for entry-level tablets" to the SoFIA family, also due in the first half of next year.

4GHz for gamers: The fourth-generation Intel Core i7 and i5 processor "K" processor. "The first from Intel to deliver four cores at up to 4GHz base frequency. This desktop processor, built for enthusiasts, provide higher performance and enable new levels of overclocking capability. Production shipments begin in June of this year."

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Llama Mountain Intel

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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