In a presentation due to go out at the Intel Developer Forum over the next two days Intel will outline best practices for low-power idle on Ultrabooks. Today you’ll be lucky to see an Ultrabook idle to less than 3000mW (3 Watts) which is a background drain that’s always there. On Haswell, Intel says that you could get to a screen-off idle state of 100mW.
Intel could, according to Xbitlabs, release a new set of low-TDP Ivy Bridge CPUs next year that will help tablet and Ultrabook designers make products thinner, cooler and quieter. TDPs will be brought down from 17W to 10W by limiting clockrate and Turbo features. The process is going to make it very difficult for a customer (and for us analysts) to determine performance based on a i3/i5/i7 part number but are also likely to be there to let Intel feed-in lower price CPUs for tablets and low-cost Ultrabooks. There’s a little trickery involved here as designers already have options for locking-down TDPs although the new parts extend that capability down to tablet designs and make it simpler for manufacturers. The new parts seem good candidates for the Surface Pro for which we don’t have a Core i5 model number yet.
Base frequencies and Turbo features are changed in all of the new CPUs. We don’t expect any changes to the Core architecture.