To create a more efficient system with longer battery life, Intel has removed the majority of hardware from some of their chips this time around. In doing so they have created something very special: Core M! The 'Y' series uses a new chipset that is significantly smaller than previous ones on Ivy Bridge or Haswell-based systems allowing them to be 4 times thinner and 2 times lighter. They also use a lot less power giving you up to twice the battery life of systems running standard Haswell CPUs.


Intel seems very proud of the fact that this year's processors are the first made entirely on their 14nm process. The new Broadwell chips are smaller than the previous generations, so they use less power and generate less heat allowing for higher clock speeds.


Looks like about 4 cores, 8 if you count HT (not that it matters much), or something like that.

How is Core M different from regular Intel processors?

The Intel Core M runs at a 3.5 GHz frequency with 16GB of DDR3 RAM
That's not the main focus compared to other core m processors, though. From what I can tell, it has pretty much all the same features as every other processor out there, without all the extra stuff that makes standard Intel CPUs fat and bulky (i.e., GPUs, memory controllers, etc.). It's basically like an i5 or i7 but without half the hardware that's only used for boosting performance when you need it (and making them thicker). Instead, you get a nice thin device like Macbook Airs

What is this new thermal design?

The CPU has been stacked up the motherboard circuitry because they realized how high the standard cooling solution was. So they were able to pack in a smaller and thinner fan with larger fins
Intel's updated its thermal design to use a new, lower-profile fan. It pushes more air through the heatsink at higher RPMs than previous designs did, but can still spin down when it isn't needed (which also means you'll hear less fan noise).

The fan is made by Delta Electronics and is custom-built for the Core M platform. This looks like an exciting development as even though ultimately it becomes all marketing there are some key changes here that make this look like an innovative improvement. The height of the fan has been lowered and is now 20mm instead of 60mm allows for a thinner system which is something users have been asking for for a long time.

Another improvement is that the size of the fins on the heatsink has increased by around 20% which means more surface area to dissipate heat. The new fan also moves more air at higher RPMs, whilst staying quiet even when it does spin up. This is all thanks to its new rotor design, which features a "three-phase motor".

Most of the noise from a fan comes from the blade passing frequencies, thicker blades reduce this and thus give a quieter experience. To lower the blade pass frequency Intel has introduced a new type of motor to help with this. A three-phase brushless DC rotary motor provides more torque at higher RPMs than a standard 2 phase brushless DC motor.

Intel claims that the new cooling solution is 29 percent thinner and takes up 52 percent less board space than the previous generation, allowing for an ultra-thin tablet design. The fan was even designed with materials commonly used in smartphones to further reduce thickness and weight.

Benefits of Core M

  • Powerful enough for working in Office, watching a video and browsing the web
  • You can finally work remotely with a tablet instead of just your phone.
  • Core M is more than powerful enough for creating presentations, working in an office, and browsing the web, thanks to its improved graphics and performance per clock. They're also not very big devices. They're about the size of a standard notebook but you get all the advantages of a tablet, such as a higher resolution screen and better battery life.
  • I think that it's fair to say that this is Intel's response to Windows 8 and their failed ARM push in the mobile market. I suspect the idea is that the operating system will run on your laptop when you're connected to mains power and then works like normal on your tablet when you're on the move. 
  • It might even work too as most people don't use all of their laptop's power and maybe this is a way to make your old laptop new again if it's powerful enough!
  • This is what makes me think that this is going to be a big deal for Microsoft, they already have Windows RT and Windows Phone, but now you get the best of both worlds. You get a fluid OS like Windows 8 and can do real work when you need to (I mean look at Surface Pro 2 it has made Windows 9 even more productive). Now we just have to see how Intel prices this product and I will be seriously tempted.

The science bit – how does it work?

The Intel Core M is smaller than a conventional Intel Core CPU. In reality, it's 50% smaller and 30% thinner than previous 5th generation Core processors.

A key part of its design is a new power-sharing framework that allows the processor and graphics subsystem to work in tandem for better performance and battery life.

In previous generations, this connection was one way with the CPU providing all the processing power but now it provides 30% more battery life. The idea is that when you use your laptop lightly then it uses the lower power processor and then when you need to work more it kicks in the high-performance one.

The fact that it's fanless is impressive though. There was a paper written by Intel saying how they'd managed to quieten down their CPUs without a fan which suggests they've been working on this for a long time, which makes sense as that is what they do.