In a rather understated blog post, Intel made an interesting move at the end of last week by announcing that for the first time the Xeon platform is heading for mobile workstation platforms.

When I first heard this, I thought ‘wait, is it not already?’, given that I have seen laptops with Xeon processors in the past. The fact of the matter is that those previous platforms relied on desktop processors (either socketed or soldered) from the high end line and were only ever found in custom designs such as those from Clevo or Eurocom which promoted a more modular concept.  As a result, these systems were typically heavy, demanding, and featuring more cores/cache/TDP than was expected for a laptop. We also saw consumer processors for notebooks with vPro, but these were typically not ECC memory verified. Intel’s announcement today changes this.

With specific mobile processors going Xeon, Intel can forge (with OEMs) a line of workstations that are more akin to the ultrabooks and notebooks we already see in the market but with certified professional level features. Intel is stating that by default all E3-1500M v5 processors will have vPro (which was to be expected) as well as Thunderbolt 3 using Type-C and access to ECC memory. So it does not become hard to imagine a professional version of the Dell XPS 13 or a MacBook / MacBook Professional type device that looks like a Core-M or a 15W clamshell with Thunderbolt 3, and/or ECC memory, while also having hardware-assisted security and ISV workstation level certification. It is our understanding we might expect announcements on specific products from manufacturers in the coming weeks.

This announcement does not give details about what types of processors (if they might be dual core, quad core, or have eDRAM) will be coming to the market, only that the mobile workstation market (according to IDC’s most recent report) has showed its sixth straight quarter of year-over-year growth which is a big pointer into the decision to release Xeon on mobile. We will be getting more details as time progresses – with Intel’s Developer Forum conference a week away, we may hear something then.

Source: Intel

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  • Computer Bottleneck - Monday, August 10, 2015 - link

    Glad to see this happening.

    Looking forward to more details.
    Reply
  • Chaitanya - Monday, August 10, 2015 - link

    That's quite interesting addition. I would like to see some reviews comparing with equivalent Core ix before making purchase for office. Reply
  • extide - Monday, August 10, 2015 - link

    Performance wise, they will be the same as core i parts with the same clockspeed, (it's the same die after all). The biggest reason is the ECC support, and the OEM Validated environment that they provide. Reply
  • witeken - Monday, August 10, 2015 - link

    According to leaked slide, there will be a SKU with GT4e.

    https://twitter.com/thesoulfate/status/59660056565...
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Monday, August 10, 2015 - link

    Yeah, this is what I'm waiting to see. GT3e is adequate, but GT4e should be up in 940m/950m territory. Too bad this likely means there will be very few GT4e machines for less than $1500. Reply
  • HighTech4US - Monday, August 10, 2015 - link

    It is not a workstation unless it has a Nvidia Quadro inside. Reply
  • casperes1996 - Monday, August 10, 2015 - link

    Surely you'll accept FirePro as well. Besides the integrated GPUs won't be for the same work the dedicated ones are. Ever heard of GPU switching? Macs do it best, but Windows can do it as well, with Optimus for instance. (That's not bias even though I am an Apple person. At least I don't think so. I try to see both angles)
    And a Pro Macbook Pro? Nice!
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Monday, August 10, 2015 - link

    For desktop, that entirely depends on the application, where AMD offers some extremely powerful alternatives to Quadro. For mobile, I agree, as AMD has has virtually no modern notebook workstation GPUs (nothing Hawaii, Tonga, or Fiji-based). Even though NVIDIA has a lot of Kepler mobile products, there's still no mobile Maxwell Quadro part. Meh.

    I suspect that Intel is about to take the low-mid mobile workstation market by storm:
    http://aecmag.com/technology-mainmenu-35/911-intel...
    Reply
  • nathanddrews - Monday, August 10, 2015 - link

    P.S. The above link is about Intel's desktop Iris Pro aspirations, but it should trickle down to the mobile Xeons as well. Reply
  • UberHamburgler - Monday, August 10, 2015 - link

    AMD has mobile FirePro versions of the Radeon 2xx series, but for whatever reason, the NVIDIA name commands much higher margins in the professional space so HP and Lenovo don't even offer AMD and Dell's website strongly promotes the Quadros. Reply

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