Intel ships 14nm Core M Broadwell chips to vendors

Intel has started shipping its first 14nm processors based on the Broadwell architecture to vendors and the chips should appear in systems by the end of the year.

The new Broadwell-Y Core M chips should usher in a new generation of tablets and ultra-thin laptops without fans needed for cooling. Intel said the processors would feature in a range of servers, PC, tablets, and mobile and connected (Internet of Things) devices.

However, the launch of the new chips hasn't been without problems. Intel was expected to roll out Broadwell chips last year, but quality control issues forced delays. The first systems sporting Core M processors won't be available to buy until later this year with wider availability more likely to start in the first quarter of 2015.

The Broadwell-based chips use second-generation Tri-gate (FinFET) transistors, which the firm said provided "industry-leading performance, power, density and cost per transistor". These transistors have fewer fins positioned more closely together to increase component density. These transistors are also stacked in a 3D arrangement like cubes.

The firm also said its architects and chip designers have achieved more than twice the reduction in the thermal design point when compared to the previous generation while providing similar performance and improved battery life with a 60 per cent lower idle power level to boot.

As the processors can run without fans, it is expected that PC manufacturers will now be able to design Core M devices as thin as 7.2mm. Broadwell is a die-shrink of Haswell the tick in Intel's tick-tock design model - and is 50 per cent smaller and 30 per cent thinner than Haswell. It also draws five watts of power compared with Haswell's 10 watts.

"Intel's integrated model the combination of our design expertise with the best manufacturing process makes it possible to deliver better performance and lower power to our customers and to consumers," said Rani Borkar, Intel vice president and general manager of product development.

"This new microarchitecture is more than a remarkable technical achievement. It is a demonstration of the importance of our outside-in design philosophy that matches our design to customer requirements."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.