Intel has found itself in the middle of a geek’s controversy at the CES show after it was found to have made up the figures for power efficiency for its latest round of Ivy Bridge chips.
Intel announced its low-power Ivy Bridge chips on Monday with some claims that the power-frugal Y series Ivy Bridge processors were rated at seven watts.
This was significant as the current standard low-power Ivy Bridge chips are rated at 17 watts.
So staggered were the team at Ars Technica that it had a closer look and found that the seven watt claim was more marketing than a feat of engineering worthy of Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
In fact, it turned out that Intel realised quickly that it was not going to get away with it and issued a statement to CNET admitting the TDP of the Y-processors was 13W and not seven. So, it is saving some electricity, but nowhere near as much as the marketing claimed.
The reason for the change is that Intel has moved away from its historical TDP standard and towards something called a Scenario Design Point (SDP). This is an additional thermal reference point meant to represent mainstream touch-first usages. It balances performance and mobility across PC and tablet workloads to extend capabilities into thin, thermally-constrained designs.
The TDP of the Y-processors are 13W which is a 24 percent reduction from TDP of Intel’s lowest 3rd gen Intel Core processors. But the Scenario Design Power (SDP), which provides a balance of performance vs. design power for mainstream touch-first usages and operates at 7W.
In other words, if your marketing team does not like the reference point you are using for power consumption you come up with another that looks a bit better. Or to put it another way, if you can’t compete on mobile with ARM, you just make up your power consumption figures and hope that no one notices.
But the announcement has rattled many who have been wondering if those leaked slides which have been making bold claims for the next-generation Haswell processors will use the new SDP rating and not TDP.
Intel has been saying on its slides that Haswell will be rated below 10 watts too. If it has been using its new “let’s look better than we really are” standard then Haswell will be looking somewhat less innovative than we expected.