The Intel Core i7-5500U is an ULV (ultra low voltage) dual-core processor based on the Broadwell architecture, which has been launched in January 2015. In addition to two CPU cores with Hyper-Threading clocked at 2.4 - 3.0 GHz (2 Cores: 2.9 GHz), the chip also integrates an HD Graphics 5500 GPU and a dual-channel DDR3(L)-1600 memory controller. The Core i7 is manufactured in a 14 nm process with FinFET transistors.
Compared to the Core i7-5550U, the i7-5500U features a higher CPU base clock, but integrates a somewhat slower GPU.
Broadwell represents the "Tick" in Intel's Tick-Tock model, which means a shrink of its predecessor Haswell. The new 14 nm manufacturing process with three-dimensional FinFET transistors allows not only improvements in energy efficiency, but also a significantly smaller die size fit for more compact packages and devices.
Further advantages result from the revised microarchitecture of Broadwell. Due to its improved branch prediction, bigger buffer sizes (1500 instead of 1000 entries in the L2 TLB) and other tweaks, the performance per clock has been increased by more than 5 percent over its predecessor. There are also some new instruction set extensions designed for cryptographic applications.
Thanks to its improved architecture, the Core i7-5500U beats the slightly lower clocked Core i7-4500U (Haswell, 15 W) by about 5 - 15 percent and matches the Core i5-4258U (Haswell, 28 W). Thus, the CPU has sufficient power for office and multimedia purposes as well as more demanding applications and multitasking.
The integrated HD Graphics 5500 offers 24 Execution Units (EUs) clocked at 300 - 950 MHz. Similar to the CPU core, the GPU architecture (Intel Gen 8) has been thoroughly revised for improved performance-per-clock. Therefore, the HD Graphics 5500 outperforms the HD Graphics 4400 (20 EUs) as well as the HD Graphics 5000 (40 EUs), both part of the Haswell generation. Nevertheless, most games as of 2015 will be playable only in low settings.
Broadwell is the first Intel chip to fully support DirectX 11.2 as well as OpenCL 1.3/2.0 and OpenGL 4.3. Video will output natively via DisplayPort 1.2 or HDMI 1.4a. However, the new HDMI 2.0 standard is not supported.
The i7-5500U is rated at a TDP of 15 W (7.5 W cTDP Down) including the graphics card, memory controller, VRMs and the integrated chipset. Therefore, the CPU is suited even for small ultrabooks 11-inches and greater.