Intel Allegedly Prepping Lower-Watt Ivy Bridge Chips

When Microsoft revealed that the Surface Pro would only last half as long on a charge as the Surface RT tablet, the geeks of the Internet shook their heads. “Should’ve waited for Haswell,” they said collectively — Haswell being the code name for the next generation of Intel processors, which are expected to boast dramatically reduced energy draw compared to current-generation Ivy Bridge chips.

A new report claims Intel won’t wait for next year’s chips to cut back on energy requirements, however.  According to “an industry source familiar with the chipmaker’s plans” who spoke to CNET, Intel plans on significantly reducing the wattage of future batches of Ivy Bridge chips, making them more palatable for mobile use.

Intel’s current consumer ultra-low voltage (CULV) chips, including the Core i5-3317U found in most Ultrabooks, are rated for 17W of energy consumption. Mobile-focused ARM processors, on the other hand, tend to use around less than 5W — frequently much less — depending on the exact architecture of the chip.

How low can the retooled Ivy Bridge chips go? Don’t expect it to reach ARM-like levels of power consumption. Intel has already said that its power target for Haswell is 10W, and earlier this year, AnandTech reported that the chip maker planned to release a 10W Ivy Bridge variant in very limited quantities. Those could be the processors mentioned by CNET’s source, and if so, expect them to only appear in top-end Windows 8 convertibles and their ilk — not more mainstream priced laptops. An energy slashing across the board would be a nice surprise, however.

The Surface Pro is reportedly slated to use a standard 17W CULV Intel processor by the way — likely the aforementioned Core i5-3317U — and not a lower wattage model, by the way.

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