Report: New '7W' Ivy Bridge chips from Intel partly a marketing ploy
New Ivy Bridge based processors unveiled by Intel at CES last week garnered headlines because of their low power consumption of just 7W. While the new chips are indeed more power efficient, the extent of the gains on the power savings front is apparently less than what Intel would like to have users think.
The new chips attain lower numbers with a newly created metric called "Scenario Design Power" or SDP, notes Ars Technica. According to Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), SDP measures how much power the CPU is using during average use, and is lower than the traditional TDP, or thermal design power, that is typically used to measure the energy efficiency of computer chips.
In addition, a comparison of the new Core i5 3339Y processor with a comparable current-gen Core i5 3317U processor shows that the former has a lower clock speed, as well as a lower Turbo Boost speed. Finally, the integrated Intel HD 4000 graphic cores of the new chips are also limited to a maximum speed of 850MHz, compared to 1050MHz of the latter.
In a nutshell, the lower power consumption can partially be attributed to a reduction in performance. For example, PC laptops based on a 7W Ivy Bridge will range from between 12 to 23 percent slower, and up to 19 percent slower when it comes to graphics.