Intel has committed over 60 percent of the surface area on the new Intel Core M system-on-chip to the graphics processing unit (GPU). That is an enormous change in attitude for the processor giant and indicates they clearly get it about what you do with a tablet—you look at it. And the tablets we’re going to be looking at have up to 4k resolution, that’s a lot of pixels to be pushing around in a game.
Within the new Core M GPU are 48 full-blown 32-bit floating-point processors—i.e., GPU cores. In fact, if you wanted to play math games you could say there are 384, but that’d be marketing talk.
The other good news is Intel has totally exposed all those cores to all the relevant applications programming interfaces: DirectX 11, OpenGL ES3.0, OpenCL 2.0, and others. APIs are widely used across PC and mobile games. Any game written for Android and almost any game written for Windows will run perfectly on the new Intel GPU. Intel hasn’t been able to make a claim like this ever. This is a new Intel, one that is open to cross-platform solutions.
Intel is targeting the Core M at tablet and other small-form-factor device makers, including the 2-in-1 devices. And by supporting OpenCL 2.0, fantastic photo and video apps will run great. But so will games that employ advanced graphics techniques like those shown in Epic’s Unreal game engine demo on a mobile device.
In tech talk, Intel is claiming 384 floating point operations per clock, the same as Nvidia’s Tegra K1 mobile processor. Intel plans to have their chips in 40 million tablets this year, and by our count they are on target to do that. If they do that, then there are those among us who will have some of those tablets, and that’s when the truth will be known. But in lab demos and on paper (and in slideware, or the features as claimed in presentations in PowerPoint) things look pretty good.