Intel Core i5 540M review

Intel's CPU-GPU fusion chip goes mobile

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Product features

  • Processor Core : Dual-core (2 Core)

View full specification

For

  • Monster mobile performance
  • Modest power consumption
  • Who needs quad-core?

Against

  • Very nearly nothing

With every new generation of PC processor comes high expectations.

Being faster, more efficient and cheaper than the CPU before is pretty much par for the course. And yet with its latest dual-core mobile chip, the Core i5-540M, Intel has still managed to blow away even our most lofty expectations.

The funny thing is, it could so easily have gone badly. This is the first example in a laptop of what is typically known as a CPU-GPU fusion processor.

In other words, a CPU and a graphics processor in a single package. According to both Intel and its chief rival in the computer chip game, AMD, fusion processors are the shape of things to come.

That doesn't necessarily make them a good thing, however, as our first taste of fusion on the desktop earlier this month proved.

The issue on the desktop is that stuffing a relatively weedy integrated graphics core into a CPU does little but compromise the thermal footprint of what would otherwise be a stunning new 32nm dual-core processor from Intel.

Make it mobile

However, for a mobile PC, the idea of reducing the chip count and thereby system complexity makes much more sense. Smaller, simpler motherboards and fewer power-hungry chips is always a good idea for a laptop.

Likewise, graphics performance tends to be less critical, particularly when running on battery power.

So there's real value in stuffing a graphics core in with the CPU if it delivers physical and power consumption efficiencies. All of which means the whole idea of CPU-GPU fusion processors is much more of a goer for mobile.

Tech Specs

Product TypeProcessor
Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Thermal Design Power35 W
Processor ManufacturerIntel
Product FamilyCore i5 i5-500
L3 Cache3 MB
Clock Speed2.53 GHz
Processor SocketSocket PGA-988
Brand NameIntel
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS
64-bit ProcessingYes
Thermal Specification105°C
L2 Cache512 KB
Product Seriesi5-500
ManufacturerIntel Corporation
Product Modeli5-540M
Product NameCore i5 Dual-core i5-540M 2.53GHz Mobile Processor
Product LineCore i5
Manufacturer Part NumberBX80617I5540M
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.intel.co.uk
Marketing Information

An integral part of Intel's new family of processors, the new Intel Core i5 mobile processor, puts smart performance well within your reach. Delivering solid performance for everyday applications, PCs powered by Intel Core i5 processors have the ability to boost speed as needed for demanding tasks, while extending battery life so you can remain unwired longer.

Packaged Quantity1
Process Technology32 nm
Limited Warranty3 Year