Everyone knows that with each successive generation of computer chips, they get more powerful and often more power efficient. But for the latest Intel processors, progress may come early.
[More from Mashable: Intel CEO Paul Otellini Stepping Down]
Intel is planning to cut power demands in its current line of Core processors, known as Ivy Bridge, which serve as CPUs in most PCs and Macs sold today, CNET reports. While Intel was already planning to slash power consumption to the extreme in the next generation of processors, code named "Haswell" -- the leaner Ivy Bridge chips -- would presumably come much sooner than that
No date has been given for Haswell's release, although allegedly leaked roadmaps have pointed to mid-2013.
[More from Mashable: ARM Announces 64-Bit Processors Coming in 2014]
With better power efficiency, the new version of Ivy Bridge chips would be even more suitable for portable form factors such as tablets. Today, if a Windows PC manufacturer wants to build a tablet, it generally has three chip options:
- An Intel Core (or AMD) processor, necessitate a bulkier form factor to accommodate larger batteries and cooling systems.
- An Intel Atom processor, which uses much less power than Core but at the price of some performance.
- An ARM-based processor, which is extremely power efficient but won't let the user run apps designed for earlier versions of Windows.
If manufacturers could build tablets with Core processors without sacrificing portability or battery life, it would open up the possibility of even more "hybrid" designs -- PCs that function as both a laptop and a tablet. Few Core-based hybrids have tablets that completely detach from their keyboards, mainly because of their power demands.
The coming Microsoft Surface Pro, due in January, is one of those designs. Although Microsoft hasn't specified exactly what chip is in the Surface Pro, it's expected to be a current Ivy Bridge processor, not one of the coming more power efficient designs.
Would you like to see more tablets with Intel Core chips, able work as full PCs? And would you buy a Surface Pro knowing more efficient chips are coming? Let us know in the comments.
BONUS: Intel Launches Ivy Bridge
Why Ivy Bridge?
Intel's 22-nanometer processor tech promises better performance, with more features (like security) built right into the chip. It consumes less power than previous designs and is up to twice as fast in visual applications.
This story originally published on Mashable here.