Intel Core M Processor

Original author: Colleen Culbertson
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Late last year, Intel introduced the first fifth-generation processor (Broadwell) with three Intel® Core ™ M family models. This developer article describes this 64-bit system-on-a-chip multi-core processor. it incorporates Intel® technology, including the Intel® HD Graphics 5300.
The Intel® Core ™ M processor family offers higher performance with more compact dimensions, reduced power and cooling requirements (which is great for thinner devices without fans), as well as longer battery life. Processors support the following technologies:
  • Intel HD5300 Graphics and Intel® Wireless Display 5.0;
  • Intel Wireless-AC 7265 and support for wireless docking (in 2015) using WiGig;
  • Intel® Smart Sound Technology
  • Intel® Platform Protection Technology and other security features.

Key Features of Intel Core M Processors

Reducing size + improving performance = lowering power and cooling requirements

Intel Core M are the first processors to be manufactured using 14nm technology. The size of the silicon crystal was reduced by more than 30%, although the number of transistors increased by more than 300 million. Intel Core M processors offer lower power consumption and less heat. Three models of this family, the production of which began in the fourth quarter of 2014, have a thermal power of only 4.5 watts. This means that no fan is needed to cool these processors. These processors will achieve high performance in the thinnest devices (less than 9 mm thick), including tablets and transformers.

Figure 1. Comparison of Intel Core M processors with reduced power consumption.

On the graph on the left in Fig. Figure 1 shows a decrease in thermal power from 18 W in 2010 to 4.5 W in the Intel Core M. This is a four-fold decrease over 4 years and a 60% decrease compared to 2013. On the right in fig. Figure 1 shows a comparison of the sizes of the 4th generation Intel® Core ™ processor with the new Intel Core M. By reducing the processor area by about 50%, we managed to reduce the space occupied by the processor on the board by about 25%.

Intel Core M processors are smaller than the 4th generation Intel Core processors in their overall dimensions. At the same time, two cores of Intel Core M are provided with a cache of 4 MB. Intel® HyperTreading Technology supports the simultaneous execution of four threads. Thanks to Intel® Turbo Boost 2.0 technology, the core frequency can increase from 0.8 GHz to 2 GHz,
and for Intel Core M 5Y70 processors - from 1.1 GHz to 2.6 GHz.
Processor codeCore Frequency (GHz)Maximum Frequency (GHz)
5Y70 1,1 2.6
5Y10 0.8 2.0
5Y10A 0.8 2.0
Functional cores: .2 Thermal power: 4.5 W
Built-in graphic cores: 2 Cache: 4 MB
Figure 2. Models of 2014 Intel Core M processors.

A single chip with 1.3 billion transistors implements a CPU, GPU, memory controller, sound controller, and network interfaces, so you should not expect a decrease in performance. Moreover, a comparison with the previous generation Intel® Core ™ i5-4320Y processor showed a significant increase in performance.

Figure 3: Increased Intel Core M 5y70 processor performance compared to Intel Core i5-4302Y

Power technology

Throughout this document, Intel’s numerous technologies designed to reduce power are mentioned.
  • Intel® Turbo Boost 2.0 Technology includes a power tracking module that calculates the power of the CPU and GPU cores, as well as a power management module that directs power to where it is needed.
  • Enhanced Intel SpeedStep® Technology with support for C0, 1, 1E, 3, and 6-10 C-states delivers the least power when idle. If you need to increase processing power, the processor raises the voltage for fast switching. When hypertreading is enabled, this switching occurs at the thread level.
  • Interrupt handling is optimized in terms of power supply through the use of X2 APIC and PAIR (interrupt routing based on power supply): the state of the cores is checked to avoid waking the cores in deep sleep.

Figure 4: Power Consumption / Energy Saving Comparison

Other components also have improved power management capabilities, see the related sections below.

Other components

On one Intel Core M chip, there is also an intelligent power management PCH platform controller node supporting PCIe NAND, PCIe 2.0 (12 channels x1, x2 or x4) and two additional USB 2.0 ports. The integrated memory controller supports Intel® Fast Memory Access and Intel® Flex-Memory Access technologies. Energy savings are achieved through solutions such as conditional self-updating, dynamic undervoltage, and shutdown of unused system memory through four disconnectable modules. It supports DDR3L or LPDDR3 RAM with a frequency of 1600 MHz or 1333 MHz, divided into 2 channels.

Intel® HD Graphics 5300

A new component of the Intel HD Graphics family, the Intel HD Graphics 5300, runs at an initial base frequency of 100 MHz, which dynamically rises to 800 MHz (850 MHz in the 5Y70). Note support for Intel® Quick Sync Video (encoding and post-processing multimedia and graphics intensive applications), Intel® In Tru ™ 3D, Intel® Clear Video HD, and Intel® Flexible Display Interface (Intel® FDI) . GPU Intel HD Graphics 5300 supports the connection of three screens (eDP / DP / HDMI interfaces). The HD Graphics 5300 uses the GT2 processor of this family (189 million transistors), it contains 24 shader modules, 4 texture mapping modules and 1 rendered image output module. DirectX * 11.1 and later, OpenGL * 4.2, OpenCLTM 2.0, Shader Model 5.0 are supported.

Testing showed that the conversion of high-definition video using Cyberlink * MediaEsspresso * was 80% faster than on the previous generation Core i5 processor, and the speed in games (3DMark * IceStorm Unlimited v 1.2.) Increased by 40%. At the same time, a system with an Intel Core M processor lasted 1.7 hours longer on battery power (with local video playback and a 35 Wh battery).

Figure 5. Intel® HD Graphics 5300

(All tests were carried out on Intel reference platforms with 4 GB of dual-channel LPDDR3-1600 memory (2 modules of 2 GB each) with 160 GB Intel solid-state drive with Windows 8.1 operating system. The system with the Core M processor used BIOS version 80.1, in a system with Core i5-4302Y processor (previous generation) - BIOS version WTM137. Both systems used the Intel® HD Graphics driver version 15.36.3650 and the thermal power was 4.5 W. Other parameters: system power management policy: balanced, wireless adapter : on, battery capacity RA: 35 Wh).

Additional battery life is provided by the following Intel HD Graphics 5300 features.
  • Intel® Display Power Savings Technology (Intel DPST) 6.0, which reduces backlight while increasing contrast and brightness.
  • Intel® Automatic Display Brightness Technology, which uses a sensor on the front of the device to adjust the screen brightness to match the level of lighting.
  • Intel® SDRRS (Seamless Display Refresh Rate) technology, which reduces the screen refresh rate when the battery level is low.
  • Intel® Rapid Memory Power Management Technology (Intel® RMPM), which automatically updates memory from low power states
  • C-state of the graphics rendering module (RC6), which reduces the voltage of the power bus in the absence of load.
  • Intel® Smart 2D Display Technology (Intel® S2DDT), which reduces the number of read operations from memory to update the display, works only in single-pipeline mode, unsuitable for use with three-dimensional applications).
  • Intel® Graphics Dynamic Frequency Technology, dynamically increasing the frequency and voltage of the GPU if necessary.

2nd Generation Intel® Wireless-AC7265

The Intel Core M processor family also implements faster WLAN adapters (performance increased by 15-100%) with 70% reduced dimensions due to the use of frame size M.2 1216. Compared to the dual-band Intel® Wireless-A7260 adapter, the AC7265 has significantly increased reliability of channels, expanded coverage, supports more simultaneously connected devices and there is the possibility of streaming video with a resolution of 1080p. At the same time, the new wireless adapter consumes 50% less power when idle (4 mW) and 30% when working (8 mW when browsing the web).

Intel® Wireless-AC7265

Note: Intel is planning to introduce WiGig wireless connectivity to the Intel Core M family in 2015.

Intel® Wireless Display 5

The new generation of Intel® Wireless Display Technology (Intel® WiDi) supports 1920 x 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second, faster connection (no more than 6 seconds) and reduced game delays (no more than 65 ms).
Supported Technologies
  • HDCP 2.2
  • Adaptive Scaling and Frame Rate
  • UoIP: multi-point touch screen and gesture control
  • Integrated Intel® Update Manager for easy driver updates
  • Support for all DX9 / DX11 full-screen game formats with game mode definition
  • Includes Intel WiDi Remote software for controlling multiple windows while displaying images on two screens
  • Additional Intel Pro WiDi features for use in conference rooms
    • DCM (split channel mode)
    • Privacy screen
    • WPAN Isolation
    • Controllability

See also Creating Intel WiDi Ultrabook Applications .

Intel® Smart Sound Technology

A new, more powerful I2S digital signal processor is integrated into the PCN platform controller assembly. Intel Smart Sound Technology (Intel® SST) reduces power consumption by offloading the system’s CPU: the signal processor takes care of the sound processing tasks and supports MP3 / AAC decoding, Waves * and DTS * post-processing, and voice prompt wakeup. For Intel SST, you must use the I2S codec.

Security including Intel® Platform Protection Technology

Systems with Intel Core M processors are equipped with advanced security features, including the following.
  • Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT-d and Intel® VT-x with EPT) - optimized memory usage by virtual machines, support for quality of service guarantees
  • Intel® AES-NI (Intel® Advanced Encryption Standards - New Instructions) instructions - 6 Intel® SSE instructions for high-performance encryption
  • Intel® Secure Key - Dynamic Random Number Generator
  • PCLMULQDQ (half multiplication) - often used in encryption
  • OS protection
  • Disable Run Bit (ND)
  • SMEP (runtime protection in supervisor mode) and SMAP (access protection in supervisor mode)
  • Protecting Intel® Devices with Boot Guard
  • Intel® Active Management Technology v10

Intel Core M 5Y70 processors also support Intel vPro ™, Intel® Trusted Execution (Intel® TXT) and Windows * Instant Go * (formerly Connected Standby) technologies.

Developer Guidelines

Consider using the following components and challenges when developing applications for the Intel Core M family of processors.

Other Intel documentation and useful tools

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