Published in Motherboards
Intel to add switchable graphics to mobile Ibexpeak
Expected in 2010
Although we'll have to wait until at least Q3 this year to see the first mobile implementation of the Nehalem when Clarksdale and Auburndale are expected to launch, Intel is already busy working on its next generation of chipsets for the mobile Nehalem platform.
These chipsets are most likely going to be paired up with the Arrendale core (the replacement for Auburndale) and what makes these parts interesting is that they'll offer switchable graphics. However, it's possible that this will only work with the Arrendale cores, since we're not sure if the Auburndale can do switchable graphics, as this would be IGP dependant and with the IGP built into the CPU, we're fairly certain the chipset only has a minor part to play. The chipsets in question are the HM57, HM55, QS57 and QM57.
All four chipsets are expected to launch alongside the PM57 (which doesn't have integrated graphics) in Q1 2010. We're not sure how Intel is going to implement its switchable graphics solution, but this is definitely something a lot of notebook users will be looking forward to. This does of course not mean that every laptop with these chipsets will feature a discrete graphics card, since there's a cost issue to take into consideration as well.
Even so, it's interesting that Intel has added this feature to its "business" line of chipsets, as this could lead to some interesting mobile workstations and might allow people that purchase one of these machines to get slightly better battery life when the extra graphics power of a discrete card isn't needed.
Common features among all of the chipsets include support for up to 12 USB 2.0 ports, and all but the HM55 also supports up to eight PCIe x1 devices, six SATA2 devices and Intel's rapid storage technology. There's also support for a next generation Turbo Memory module in all chipsets apart from the HM55. The HM55 supports six PCIe x1 devices and four SATA2 ports.
Hopefully Intel can pull things off this time around without any further delays to its mobile Nehalem platform, although we've yet to see any performance and more importantly, battery life figures for this upcoming mobile platform from Intel.