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Part 13. New technology that enables a high-performance, standard voltage CPU to run on a 12.1” ultra-portable PC

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Part 13. New technology that enables a high-performance, standard voltage CPU to run on a 12.1” ultra-portable PC
Normally, low or ultra low voltage versions of CPUs with reduced power consumption are used in mobile PCs designed for long battery life. This was the same for Toughbook Business-rugged PCs, but in 2008 a standard voltage CPU was used in order to increase the processing speed. Designed primarily for office use, the 14.1" CF-F8 was a comparatively large mobile PC and featured good heat dissipation thanks to easy air circulation inside the chassis.
However, the newly debuted CF-S9 has a 12.1” LCD. While featuring a compact size and weight needed primarily for mobile use, it is equipped with a high performance CPU, the type of which is found in desktop PCs. We will now introduce the unique technology from Panasonic that has realized this ability to combine both power and compactness, a feat that has been difficult with the technology available up to now.

The merits and issues of using a standard voltage Intel® Core™ i5-520M.

The biggest difference between the CF-S9 and previous CF-T/W Series is, by far, the significantly increased processing power.
One reason for this is the evolution of the CPU from the Core2 Duo to the Core i5. Another reason is the change in CPU type from the previous ultra low voltage version to the standard voltage version.

The Intel® Core™ i5 lets you work smoothly by increasing performance automatically in accordance with the workload and by providing superior multitasking.

Intelligence of the Intel® Core™ i5 Intel® Turbo Boost Technology

Intelligence of the Intel® Core™ i5
Intel® Turbo Boost Technology

For tasks that require a high processing load, if there is any leeway in one of the CPU cores, that leeway can be used to increase the processing speed. Processing speed is automatically optimized in accordance with the task being performed.

Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology
Having two cores with each one processing two commands simultaneously at high speed is the same as processing using four cores. Multitasking performance is greatly increased such as when doing a virus check in the background while performing processor intensive tasks such as graphics editing.

Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology

Built-in graphic chip
The GPU on the chipset for the Core2 Duo is now built into the CPU itself. Graphic data that demands much processing power such as movie and 3D playback and high resolution data processing can be handled smoothly.

Furthermore, the CPU for the CF-S9 was changed from the ultra low voltage CPU that was used in the previous CF-T/W Series to a standard voltage CPU that is meant to be used in PCs as such as large laptops. The reason for doing this is in answer to users who have been saying that recent software that involves complex computations, for example applications that handle video, doesn't operate as expected. This is caused when using ultra low voltage CPUs that lower the processing speed for the purpose of lowering power consumption. Our goal was to overcome this satisfaction by equipping the CF-S9 with a standard voltage version CPU of high processing speed.
With the generational change in CPUs and the adoption of a standard voltage version, compared to the CF-T5/W5 of three to four years ago, the CF-S9, which is expected to replace them, is approximately 4.8 times faster, as shown in the graph.

Comparison of new and old performance

However, high performance standard voltage CPUs, by nature, give off more heat. Regarding thermal design power (TDP), as opposed to the ultra low voltage CPUs equipped in the CF-T8/W8, which are 10 W, the CF-S9 consumes 35 W. In other words, the CF-S9 would not be able to handle this heat if it had the same thermal design power as the CF-T/W Series. We would lose this valuable processing speed without a way to skillfully dissipate the heat. Also, the chassis would get so hot that it would be uncomfortable to operate the keyboard with the palms resting on the casing for long periods.
To overcome this, a unique heat dissipation method was developed for the CF-S9.

Standard Voltage CPU

New fan and heat pipe quietly limit heat.

One way to deal with CPU heat is to keep the heat to a minimum in the first place. A second method is to let the heat escape. A third method is to use cooling technology.
To accomplish the first one, keeping the heat to a minimum, we have DPPM (Dynamic Power Performance Management Technology; see Unique Technology Part 4), which was jointly developed with Intel Corporation. To accomplish the second method, letting the heat escape, and the third one, cooling, we have been working on a new design that takes a new approach to the heat pipe and fan.
First of all, in order to quickly allow large amounts of heat to escape, we connected a heat pipe to both the CPU and the chipset, as we did for the CF-F8. Utilizing the special ability of copper to conduct heat together with the liquid inside the pipe, heat is quickly transferred to the heat dissipating fins at the edge of the exhaust port. The fan together with the heat dissipation fins then does the cooling. Furthermore, we made the heat pipe thicker than before and also made the walls of the pipe thinner so that the liquid inside would flow more easily and thus increase the ability to dissipate heat.

New fan and heat pipe quietly limit heat.

We also implemented a design change to make the fan better for cooling. If the fan were made larger, the airflow would increase and improve cooling efficiency, but the computer would become noisier, more power would be consumed, and space would be taken. The CF-F8, which contains a standard voltage CPU, features low power consumption while at the same time uses a 42 mm diameter fan that was specially designed for quiet operation to supply the required airflow. However, the chassis on the CF-S9 is smaller and in order to achieve further compactness, the mainboard was reduced in size by around 30% compared to the CF-T8/W8. Naturally, the fan would have to be smaller in order to fit on the mainboard. To overcome this, we used a smaller 29 mm diameter fan, but increased the height and changed the blade shape to increase the airflow. We also removed large parts such as the PC card slot from the mainboard and designed it so that air flows not only over the surface of the mainboard, but throughout the entire chassis to achieve efficient cooling. Compared to the CF-T8/W8, airflow has increased by approximately four times.

In this way, the CF-S9 succeeds in our attempt to equip a 12.1” ultra-portable PC with a high performance standard voltage CPU. This is a computer that will expand business opportunities throughout the world by enabling one to efficiently do deskwork away from the office.

For further information about our products, how to purchase them and more, please visit the website of your region.

Specification and configuration may vary depending on country. Accessories may vary depending on your mobile PC configuration.
Specifications subject to change without notice.
Consult a Panasonic sales office near you for more details and availability of integrated options.

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