During its CES keynote Intel talked a lot about its 10W Ivy Bridge Y-series chips and even said that they managed to surpass its goal and that we will see a 7-watt Y-Series CPU as well. Unfortunately, it looks like Intel's slide was a bit misleading and Intel was actually talking about Scenario Design Point rather than the Termal Design Point.
To make things worse, out of the entire Y-Series, only a single SKU will be able to reach the targeted 10W TDP while others are still at 13W. The 7W number, according to Intel chaps, is actually the Scenario Design Point, or a way for Intel to give manufacturers that want to squeeze a 13W TDP CPU in a, for example, tablet that can deal only with 7W of TDP.
Of course, this also means that the CPU will actually work at lower frequency in order to accommodate that TDP. As for example, the 1.5GHz Core i7-3689Y will actually work at 800MHz and "will be able" to Turbo up to 2.6GHz when it is able to stay cool enough. Of course, this does not mean that the CPU will be slower but at tight 7W, it will probably mostly work at 800MHz rather than its 1.5GHz default clock or the 2.6GHz Turbo.
Of course, Intel says that we are looking at an "intellectual honesty" but intellectually and honestly it does look a lot like a misleading marketing gimmick. It is good that Intel can set the CPU to stay at 7W but then you can't say that it is the same CPU with a 13W TDP as it will certainly stay at lower frequencies in order to keep the TDP at hard set level.
In any case, these are still impressive TDP values but now it looks like you will have to keep a closer eye on Intel's SDP when buying a future ultrathin or tablet.
You can check out more over at TheVerge.com.