While higher powered CPUs finding homes in mobile laptops is nothing new, Intel looks to be expanding their professional offerings. In the past, those looking for top tier CPU performance were stuck with Intel’s i7 lineup, which while offering great performance, did not support a number of workstation and professional features. These features were confined to the desktop Xeon lineup of E3, E5 and E7s. Yesterday, Intel announced they will start offering mobile Xeon E3s from the E3-1500M v5 family, bringing professional support to the mobile workstation.
Like most Xeons, the E3-1500M v5 supports ‘professional’ features like ECC (Error Correcting-Code memory) and Intel vPro enterprise features. Intel also stated that each Xeon enabled laptop will also featureThunderbolt 3. We don’t know yet if this will be enabled on the PCH chipset or OEMs will have to bundle a Thunderbolt controller chip. Thunderbolt 3 also means support for USB C, which makes these laptops likely some of the earliest ones to get the new connector.
With i7s long being used in high-end mobile workstations, these Xeons will probably get snapped up by firms wanting vPro support and professionals running workloads requiring ECC. As CPU performance has stagnated, it won’t be surprising if these Xeons be within spitting distance of stock desktop i7s. Given that some firms have already offered desktop i7s and even 12 core Xeons in workstation laptops, Intel officially getting into the game shouldn’t be surprising. No word has been given about clock speeds, release date or core count, but I doubt Intel plans to be exceeding 4 Skylake cores for now; you can find the Intel announcement here.