Today, Intel showed off a reference design codenamed Llama Mountain, which is an incredibly thin tablet running Intel's Core M 5Y70. While we've covered Core M previously it's worth going over again for those unfamiliar with this chip. For reference, it's the first shipping implementation of Broadwell and designed to target a 4.5W TDP. This means that it's fully possible to integrate a full Windows PC into a thin, fanless formfactor. We've already seen the announcement of the ThinkPad Helix 2 with Core M, so it's clear that this new chip can support such formfactors.

One of the biggest surprises for me was how much smaller the PCB was in Llama Mountain. For reference, the photo above is from our Surface Pro teardown. The PCB takes up almost the entirety of the tablet, and there's a great deal of extra thickness from the fans in the device. I managed to get a photo of the entire Llama Mountain board below. The second green PCB contains the storage (a SanDisk iSSD solution) and a WiFi chip (Intel 7260AC).

The resulting tablet is incredibly light at 684 grams. For reference, the iPad Air is 469 grams. Of course, the real question is whether the extra ~200 grams is worth it. To get an idea of whether or not it is, Intel showed the performance of Llama Mountain in Sunspider 1.0.2 and 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited. I've put the results into the graphs below.

3DMark 1.2 Unlimited - Overall

SunSpider 1.0.2 Benchmark  (Chrome/Safari/IE)

Needless to say, the Core M 5Y70 is the fastest tablet that we have test results for. The Surface Pro line has 15W TDP parts, while Core M operates in a 4.5W TDP. However, for this reference design Intel is leveraging the large amount of surface area to drive a 6W TDP. Despite this, it seems that it manages to equal or better the Surface Pro line in performance. Intel also emphasized that only an aluminum back cover would be needed to dissipate the heat to keep costs down. In fact, there were versions of Llama Mountain with copper and gold-plated back covers, but had no noticeable effect in performance. I'm definitely looking forward to future tablets and 2-in-1 devices launching with this chip, as this could enable laptop levels of performance in a tablet formfactor without the compromise we see now.



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  • mkozakewich - Friday, September 12, 2014 - link

    Also, more cooling would mean more TurboBoost. Reply
  • Roland00Address - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    Which surface pro 3? The i5, the i3, the i7? Reply
  • Roland00Address - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    And I see the i3 labeled as a separate bar after I hit send :( Reply
  • Laxaa - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    There's both the i3 model and another model that's not labeled. I'm guessing it's the i5 version. Reply
  • dragonsqrrl - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    If I remember correctly there's not much of a performance difference between the i5 and i7 versions. Reply
  • mtalinm - Thursday, September 11, 2014 - link

    MSFST did not sample any reviewers an i7. anand's review says it's an i5. Reply
  • monstercameron - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    yeah right, so let me get this straight...uses less power than a tegra k1, yet offers more performance than a sufrace pro 3. impossibru! Reply
  • shing3232 - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    5y70 is 14nm part, so it is possible Reply
  • dragonsqrrl - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    Well... does the TDP for Broadwell Y include the southbridge? I think it's on package, but isn't it still on a separate die? I realize that's not exactly a fair comparison since Broadwell Y offers more IO options, but still something to consider. Also, K1 is built on 28nm, so there's a huge disadvantage there. Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Wednesday, September 10, 2014 - link

    Yea... it does. The 4.5W is the package TDP. It's kinda like how it went from 17W + 3W in Ivy Bridge to 15W combined in Haswell. Reply

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