The next line of processors from Intel is almost here, and they’ll do more than just offer faster speeds and better battery life: they’ll be smaller than any other Intel chips before it.
One of the oldest lessons in computers is knowing that the moment you buy a computer — any computer, and pretty much any form of technology — is that it’s always out of date the moment it comes out. That means that the new shiny computer at the top of the price guide in your local retail catalogue that you’re thinking of spending money on today has already been surpassed by something else, and that too is about to be beaten by something else, also.
This idea stems from “Moore’s law,” a term that is named for Gordon Moore, one of the founders of Intel who came to the reasoning in the 60s that transistor amounts per chip had doubled in size every two years, and would continue to do so for a long period of time. It also comes from the knowledge that the next big thing is constantly being worked on, and we as humans have come to expect that anything new isn’t new for much longer.
For instance, a new Windows 8 tablet bought this year is only new to the person buying it and the company selling it, though to each — the buyer and the customer — they probably know otherwise that something else is coming because, really, there is always “something else” coming, and it’s usually right around the corner.
This week, that next concept that is right around the corner is something Intel has been working on, as the microprocessor giant sends word that it will be showcasing new chips based on a 14 nanometre process, the first of its kind in a large volume production.
Called the Intel Core M processor, it’s a development that could change computers forever more, making it possible to take high-end computer technology and make it much smaller than it currently is, effectively putting more power in your hands as the computer we all know and grew up with shrinks again.
“Intel’s 14 nanometer technology uses second-generation Tri-gate transistors to deliver industry-leading performance, power, density and cost per transistor,” said Intel’s Mark Bohr. “Intel’s investments and commitment to Moore’s law is at the heart of what our teams have been able to accomplish with this new process.”
That new process results in one of the world’s smallest processors, with a reduced heat footprint due to different power requirements while providing better battery life across the board.
Furthermore, the technology is the next step in Intel’s current “Core” products found in laptops, desktops, and tablets, fitting in the codenamed Broadwell architecture and set to offer improvements from the current generation of “Haswell” fourth-gen processors, the chips currently on the market in many of the mid-2013 to present (2014) machines.
While no manufacturers have stepped up to say what they’re working on with the Intel Core M chips, we’d hazard a guess that all the big players and even a few of the small ones will have products shortly, especially since Intel anticipates a holiday season 2014 availability, with more to come in the first half of next year.
“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’s 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.”