updated 06:30 pm EDT, Sun May 30, 2010
Intel plans multi-chip mobile Core i5, i7 refresh
A newly escaped Intel roadmap has confirmed that the chip designer is planning a sweeping upgrade to its notebook processors in the fall beyond what has been seen so far. Along with the 2.66GHz Core i5 580M, Intel would upgrade the higher end of its dual-core chips with a 2.8GHz Core i7 640M. The replacement for the 2.66GHz i7 620M would Turbo Boost to 3.46GHz and still use the same 35W of power, rendering it a drop-in upgrade for thin notebooks such as the MacBook Pro.
The copy of the roadmap obtained by Engadget also shows an unusual decision to carry two mobile Core i5 processors at the same speed. The 580M would be accompanied by the 560M, which would still run at 2.66GHz but Turbo Boost only to 3.2GHz instead of 3.33GHz. Intel's reasoning for this isn't mentioned at this stage, but it may be intended for systems where the higher Turbo Boost speed would create too much heat.
A handful of low and ultra-low voltage processors should make appearances at the same time. The ultra-low voltage models will jump from a peak 1.2GHz to the rumored 1.46GHz Core i7 680UM, whose complete chipset uses just 18W of power and ramps up to 2.53GHz in Turbo Boost mode. A step down, the i7 660UM, will have 1.33GHz regular and 2.13GHz Turbo Boost speeds. The in-between low voltage series will get just one new model, the 2.26GHz i7 660LM, but will still use a maximum 25W of power.
All of the chips are characterized as stopgaps to keep the computer upgrade cycle active until Huron River, a new platform for early 2011 that will put the support chips on the same 32 nanometer process as the CPUs and make extras like WiMAX, WiDi (Wireless Display) and Bluetooth available directly from Intel chipsets. A new Zero Power Optical Disc Drive mode will park a Blu-ray or DVD drive and prevent it from using significant power when unused.