What can we expect from 14 nanometers?

    What Intel has been talking about for so long has finally happened - the next-generation Broadwell processors, made using 14 nm technology, are entering the market. In the near future we will see the first real devices based on Broadwell, but for now we have the opportunity, based on reliable first-hand information, to comprehensively study the question: what will bring us the notorious 14 nanometers?

    As most people probably know without the CAP, Broadwell is a tick-step in the Intel process, which by definition does not imply revolutionary changes in functionality. Nevertheless, naturally, there were some improvements and innovations, and this time there are probably more of them than in previous Tics.

    The first commercial product made by the new process technology will be the Core M processor, designed for mobile and portable devices. It was this market segment that was waiting impatiently for 14 nm, because a decrease in the process technology is, first of all, a reduction in size and TDP. They didn’t deceive them: the new Core M allows passive cooling, and the thickness of the device cases can be no more than 9 mm.

    Compared to 22 nm, in 14-nm technology the distance between the dielectric ribs is reduced, the height of the barriers is increased and their number is reduced. The original .

    Some more technical details. Core M uses second-generation Tri-gate three-dimensional transistors. Due to technological improvements in them and a general reduction in size, the crystal area compared to Haswell decreased by more than 30%, while the number of transistors increased from 1 to 1.3 billion. The increase in performance was achieved due to the expansion of the associative translation buffer (TLB), more accurate branch predictions, as well as optimization of multiplication and division by floating point. But the greatest successes, as already mentioned, have been achieved on the fronts of the struggle for not consumed watts: Broadwell managed to double the energy-saving indicators traditional when changing the process technology. Consumption has also halved compared to Haswell in absolute terms.

    Power management schemes for the processor, graphics core and chipset are becoming more intelligent. Starting with Broadwell, they use heuristic algorithms.

    Energy efficiency is backed by advanced power management technologies. This is, first of all, the new second-generation integrated voltage regulator (FIVR), which quickly and more intelligently transfers the cores from the standby state to the operating mode. In addition, the downtime voltage was reduced, as well as improved control over the energy consumption of the entire chip as a whole, including memory and peripheral controllers.

    We briefly mention the new functionality - maybe for someone they will be important:
    • Improved cryptography support. New instructions ADCX / ADOX and RDSEED (non-deterministic random numbers), hardware support for CRC and RSA.
    • Intel trace system. Support for low-cost processor-level tracing that program debugging software will use.
    • Intel Transactional Synchronization Extensions (Intel TSX) - New advanced instructions to facilitate multi-threaded applications.
    • Improved virtualization. The VT-x technology, familiar to everyone, is faster and faster with each new generation.

    Significant changes have occurred in the graphics core of the processor. The brand-new Intel HD Graphics 5300 core supports DirectX 11.2, OpenGL API 4.3, OpenCL API 2.0, and 4K resolution screens. Tessellation mechanisms have been improved, the number of actuators in the core has been increased. According to the company, the performance increase in the graphics subsystem is about 40% in games and up to 80% in video encoding. To the existing support for decoding formats AVC, VC-1, MPEG2, MVC added video codec VP8, as well as decoding JPEG & MJPEG.

    The processor core is Crystal M. More than half the area is occupied by the graphics core. The original .

    Physically, Core M is made in the form of two chips: the processor itself (which also has a graphics core and a memory controller) and the Platform Controller Hub (PCH) chipset, which in the old fashion is still sometimes called the south bridge. The chipset, in addition to solving traditional tasks of organizing various input-output operations, now includes a Wi-Fi controller and audio codec. Thus, Intel Core in its mobile form is increasingly approaching the SoC design, and there is no doubt that it will soon come at all. In the meantime, this is still a dual-chip system.

    The first models with an Intel Core M processor will appear on the shelves at the end of this - the beginning of next year. Well, we will wait for the next advent of 14 nanometers in the face of processors for PCs - for sure there will be a lot of interesting things.

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