What is Intel’s fifth generation Broadwell Core M processor series all about? You will find them in all current generation laptops and tablets – they boost mobility, portability and performance. What are they for? The ‘M’ in Core M stands for mobile. However, take note: Core M is built for high-end content consumption, not high-end content creation. By Francois van Wijk, HP computing business unit manager at DCC.c
Core M have provided a serious feature boost to the 2-in-1, clamshell and ultra-thin devices that are so highly sought after for the convenience they offer to mobile users and those that need a ‘transition’ device – something that provides a bridge between the power-user’s desktop or laptop and a device needed for all the information, communication and presentation done while on the go. They are also ideal for low or medium-weight mid-tech users, like the salesforce.
The Broadwell Core M processors are part of the ‘tick’ in Intel’s ‘tick, tock’ cycle, which means it’s a new microarchitecture as the fourth generation Haswell chips which provides greater efficiency in terms of heat, power and performance – on a smaller die, in a BGA (Ball Grid Array), SoC (System on Chip) package. What does that mean in real terms? Let’s look at some fast stats.
The Core M processor is 14 nanometer (nm) technology and can do more – i.e., it’s 30% smaller than previous generation processors.  Built to run with only 4,5 watts – a significant drop from previous generation 11.5 watts — the low power Core M’s are energy efficient and produce less heat and therefore do not require a fan. This makes them ideal for smaller form factor design, especially ultra-thin (less than 9mm) form factors such as tablets and 2 in 1s. The Core M’s also offer up to 50% faster CPU performance, up to 40% better graphics performance and up to 1.7 hours longer battery life. Their most exciting feature: they usher in the era of all things wireless with wireless display and docking support.
What drives performance? The Core M processor series comes in five flavours, the 5Y10a/b/c, 5Y31, 5Y51, 5Y70 and 5Y71. All have dual CPU cores with a 4MB cache .
The wireless capabilities of the Core M devices signify the start of a big shift to tether less computing, enabling wireless display (WiDi) and docking (WiGig), but not yet wireless charging. A palm-sized wireless display adapter will enable the Core M device to wirelessly connect to a TV or projector. Built in WiDi 5.0 capability allows cable-free 4K audio and video streamed to a display, while Pro WiDi adds enterprise security and privacy controls. WiGig, which is faster that WiFi, supports wireless gigabit data connections to a docking station, connecting peripherals like displays, keyboard , mouse , LAN without cables.
How do fifth generation Core M processors compare to Haswell and Skylake processors? The Core M’s performance can be likened to the performance of mid sku fourth generation Haswell i5 processors. With the release of the sixth generation Skylake Core M processors – set for September 2015 – we are likely to see an increase of performance to i5 specs. However, new generation devices with Skylake processors will typically be more expensive. They are likely to start becoming more broadly available just before Xmas, a great refresh opportunity to new tech.
Core M devices are current generation. Right now, they represent a good value proposition, delivering a solid performance enhancement over previous generation devices. If you are in the market for a mobile device, a Core M processor provides a good foundation for a next generation computing experience with a fan less thin and long battery life device.