Published in PC Hardware

Broadwell 2-in-1 showcased at Computex

by on03 June 2014

Significantly better than Haswell

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has already said that Broadwell, the company's first 14nm processor is coming this year and he said that it will miss the back-to-school shopping spree.

We also mentioned that Computex is the right place to showcase this chip and we were right about it.

Broadwell 14nm Core products will still ship before the holiday season and probably capture at least a small slice of the market, although Haswell will still account for the majority of Intel’s big core shipments. Renee James, the president of Intel, showcased the Broadwell reference design 2-in-1 at Computex last night.

Aof today Intel calls this Broadwell "Intel's first 14nm 4th generation Core processor". It gets kind of confusing as Haswell is also a 4th generation Core processor, but it’s based on the 22nm manufacturing process. The branding might crystallise before the launch.

60 percent lower TDP

Intel claims that this new processor has a 60 percent lower TDP and twenty to forty percent better performance than its predecessor. It offers 10 to 45 percent lower SoC power and all that at around 50 percent smaller package footprint. The reference machine looks like a 16:9 tablet with a keyboard dock. Intel plans to ship these machines as tablets with an extra keyboard.

Intel will have a technological lead over AMD and ARM, as AMD plans to ship its 20nm APU, codenamed Nolan, in 2015.

The ARM alliance is starting to produce 20nm chips towards the end of the year but we fear that Apple and Samsung will continue to dominate the $300+ tablet market. Despite having a new 14nm chip, Intel won’t have an easy time selling that many 2-in-1 detachable notebooks / dockable tablets.

Apple is a tough competitor

We expect to see new Apple tablets later this year and traditionally Apple users don’t care about the chip inside, as long as the tablet is pretty and works nice. Apple has proven that it’s A-series mobile and tablet processors have what it takes to take on the competition, and then some.

The good news for Broadwell is that Apple will have to get these processors for MacBook series products at some point, but we expect this to happen in 2015, not in 2014. MacBook Air should benefit from new Core-series Broadwell processors with a 60 percent lower TDP, which could deliver a significant boost in battery life over the previous generation.

Intel is still trying to find its place in this evolving market and despite its clear dominance in performance and the manufacturing process, it is still having a hard time. Intel entered the tablet space too late and ever since the company has been trying to reinvent itself. Intel plans to sell 40 million tablet chips this year, but we are not sure if this will bring Intel much in the way of revenue in the short run.

Intel tried to reinvent the market with the Ultrabook that turned out to be too expensive for many to be a real success and it is pushing now towards 2-in-1 designs that will act as a notebook when you need them and the rest of the time will run as tablet. The operating system of a choice is still Windows 8.1 but we guess that some manufactures might choose to experiment with dual OS systems, Android and Windows 8.1.

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