Core M benchmarks: Why this CPU is the perfect candidate for the Surface Pro 4

So what about the actual results?

Comparing the 'up-config' Llama Mountain reference design with the Core i5 4300 Surface Pro 3 the actual CPU performance is about 5% lower testing Cinebench's multi-threaded rendering benchmark.

Considering that's a 6W CPU vs. a 15W CPU, and the Core i5 is Turbo-ing some 300MHz quicker, that's not a bad shout for the powerful li'l Core M chip.

And when you look at the Sunspider test, showing just how quickly the Core M 5Y70 can get to its 2.6GHz peak speed, it's definitely got the Surface Pro 3 licked. The Core M's score of 115ms vs. the Core i5's 196ms makes it some 70% quicker.

The 14nm Broadwell 'Tick' isn't just about the die-shrink either, as even with the Core M Broadwell chips you're getting more of a 'Tick Plus' on the processor graphics. The HD 5300 graphics of the Core M has an extra four execution units over the HD 4400 graphics in the Surface Pro 3.

And, even though the top clockspeeds of the two GPU parts are completely different - 850Mhz, vs. 1.1GHz - the Broadwell graphics obviously have the edge.

In Futuremark's 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark, the slower-clocked HD 5300 is able to post a score of 50,439 compared with the 48,173 score the HD 4400 is able to post.

The other thing to remember about the Surface Pro 3 is that it's using active cooling and is also a chunk thicker than the Llama Mountain reference design. The fanless Core M though is still able to replicate it's benchmarks consistently so long as the ambient temperature remains constant.

The Surface Pro 3 on the other hand is a martyr to its thermal design. In order to keep it down to some 9mm the 15W CPU can only hit its peak performance speeds in short bursts, over longer term use it will throttle back its performance to keep the thermals down.

Something that wont happen with a Core M design. Even if it comes in at around 7mm thick without any fans whatsoever.

This is the power of Intel's first Broadwell chip and why, given all the delays the new microarchitecture has suffered along the path to 14nm, making sure it got the Core M out first was by far Intel's best play.

While the rest of the Broadwell chips are unlikely to be anything to write home, the Core M parts are looking to be the finest mobile parts Intel's ever produced.