Intel’s New Core M Processors Will Bring Thin, Fanless Convertible Notebooks This Holiday

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Intel has launched its Core M processor line at IFA 2014 this year, and is announcing a number of key launch partners that will be shipping Intel M-based convertible notebooks starting this holiday season. The new M chips allow users to build much thinner designs, since they’re incredibly energy-efficient and can run cool enough that they don’t require a heat-fighting fan in the chassis.

Typically, even in devices designed to be super thin and portable like the Intel Core-powered Surface Pro 3, there’s a fan (no matter how well-engineered, quiet and efficient) that still takes up plenty of room and makes some noise. Acer’s new Chromebook 13 offers a fanless design, but it also runs on an Nvidia Tegra K1 processor that was originally designed for mobile, and it runs Chrome OS, not full-fledged Windows.

New 2-in-1 devices from OEMs including Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Toshiba are hitting store shelves beginning this holiday season that offer both full Windows, with performance that, while it isn’t what you’d get out of Intel’s top-of-the-line current generation Core processors, still beats the heck out of the performance on top-level models from just a few years ago.

It also offers a huge advantage in terms of battery draw, delivering up to eight hours of continues video play. Plus, as mentioned, the absence of a need for a fan means that OEMs can build much thinner cases for their devices – some are even thinner than 9mm, which is slimmer than a AAA battery, Intel notes, and small compared to even today’s slimmest laptops, and the MacBook Air at its meatier end.

Slender devices might make it easier for Microsoft to embrace the touch-friendly part of Windows 8, but it also looks to be de-emphasizing that part of the OS with Windows 9, so we’ll see if that affects the design direction of OEM hardware.