Intel unveiled details about a whole raft of upcoming chips this week… but not very many details. In a 45 minute press conference on Monday, Intel breezed through slide after slide in a presentation meant to pack a few tidbits about a lot of products.
Or maybe the goal was to gloss over some of the company’s less spectacular achievements. For instance, those new 7 watt Ivy Bridge chips the company said would be hitting the streets soon? They’re actually more like 13W chips.
Ars Technica did a bit of digging and noticed that the 7W figure Intel cited is for a brand new spec called “scenario design power,” or SDP. It’s meant to measure power consumption during average use.
That sounds pretty good — but Intel is comparing the new chip’s SDP to the TDP of older chips. TDP stands for thermal Design Power, and lets us know how much power a chip uses when it’s running at full speed.
Since Intel doesn’t provide SDP ratings for older chips, the best way to compare the new lower power Ivy Bridge processors with their predecessors is probably looking at TDP — and in this case, what we see isn’t a drop from 17W to 7W. It’s a drop from 17W to 13W.
That’s certainly not a bad thing… especially since we’re still talking about Ivy Bridge processors here. By the time 4th generation Core (Haswell) chips are read to roll off the assembly line, Intel will have had time to further lower power consumption while improving performance.
But reducing the TDP by 4 watts isn’t the same thing as cutting it by more than half.
We’ll probably see better battery life from systems with the new processors, but the improvements might not be all that dramatic.
In the meantime, in order to reduce power consumption, Intel chose to reduce the top CPU and GPU speeds in its new chips, which means they won’t be quite as fast as their 17W peers. That’s hardly shocking, but as Ars Technica points out, if you compare the specs for the new 13W Intel Core i5-3339Y and the 17W Core i5-3317U which has proven popular with ultrabook makers, you can now see exacly how much performance Intel is trimming.
The new chip has a clock speed of 1.5 GHz and a top Turbo speed of 2 GHz, compared with 1.7 GHz and 2.6 GHz for the older processor. The max graphics processor speed also now tops out at 850 MHz instead of 1050 MHz.
Intel does have at least one Ivy Bridge chip that will have a TDP of 10W, but it’s the lower performance Pentium 2129, which also has a 1.1 GHz clock speed and no support for hyperthreading.
Lenovo is one of the first companies to unveil a device featuring the new Core i5-3339Y processor, but the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S isn’t expected to launch until June. By then we may see a number of other ultrabooks and tablets powered by the new chip.
via The Verge