Intel is taking low-power computing seriously these days. In fact, the company now offers 3 different lines of chips aimed at low-power tablets and 2-in-1 notebooks: the Intel Atom x5 and x7 “Cherry Trail” family, the Intel Celeron and Pentium “Braswell” family, and the Intel Core M “Broadwell Y” family.
All of these chips use 6 watts of power or less, and computer makers can use any of them to create thin, light, and efficient tablets, notebooks, or 2-in-1s. But how do you know which solution to use?
Intel has outlined some of the deciding factors in a presentation at the Intel Developer Forum in China.
The most obvious differences between the chips are their prices and performance levels: from least to most expensive (and powerful), they generally go: Atom x5, Atom x7, Celeron, Pentium, and Core M.
But Intel also points out that you’ll get the longest battery life (with the same battery capacity) if you opt for an Atom chip. The company also recommends using Atom processors with eMMC storage, which means that tablets or convertibles with these chips will likely have 64GB of storage or less while systems with Celeron or more powerful chips can use eMMC, mSATA, and/or SATA storage for larger capacities.
Intel offers a reference design for Core M tablets and convertibles: and some of the cheap Chinese tablets we’ve seen featuring these chips are based on this reference design.
Intel says part of the reason companies like Cube, Vido, and Teclast have been able to get Core M devices to market so quickly is because they’ve used Intel’s reference designs as a starting point.
The chip maker has also created a new reference design for 2-in-1 tablets with detachable keyboards called “Orchid Island.”
This design is for an 11.6 inch tablet with an Intel Braswell chip, 4GB of RAM, and prices ranging from about $299 to $349. Don’t be surprised if we see Chinese device makers rush products to market based on this design soon as well.