Intel’s Newest Processor Family is Aimed Squarely at ARM

Posted on June 10, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Mobile, Windows 10 with 40 Comments

Intel today announced its new hybrid Core processors, which feature an ARM-like architecture for better battery life in thin and light PCs.

“Intel Core processors with Intel Hybrid Technology are the touchstone of Intel’s vision for advancing the PC industry by taking an experience-based approach to designing silicon with a unique combination of architectures and IPs,” Intel corporate vice president Chris Walker writes in a prepared statement. “Combined with Intel’s deepened co-engineering with our partners, these processors unlock the potential for innovative device categories of the future.”

Intel never mentions the term “ARM” in its announcement, but it’s pretty obvious why the firm is moving to a “big-little” core architecture that mimics processor designs from Qualcomm and other ARM chipset makers. This design allows for a 56 percent smaller package area and extended battery life, both of which are ideal for thin and light PCs, including, Intel says, foldable and dual-screen PCs.

The Intel design, codenamed Lakefield, is kind of interesting because it combines a full-powered 10 nm “Sunny Cove” core with four low-power “Tremont” Atom cores. So, yes, it’s a five-core design.

And the first PCs with Core processors with Intel Hybrid Technology are coming this month. Samsung is set to release an Intel version of its Galaxy Book S any day now; the firm had previously released an ARM version, which comes with all the usual performance and compatibility issues that have dogged Windows 10 on ARM so far. And Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold, which was announced at CES in January, will ship in select markets starting this month too.

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