A new generation of notebooks is right around the corner.
Generally speaking, there's always something newer, faster, and shinier in the pipeline, and if you keep waiting for the next best thing, you'll never upgrade. That said, when the stars align just right, every once in awhile it's worth waiting for something that's just around the corner, and this happens to be one of those times. Haswell is about to launch, and you may even see laptops based on Intel's next generation architecture by the end of May, which is when you'll want to start shopping if you can hold off until then.
When's the last time you saw a tablet or smartphone overclocked to 5GHz and beyond? The answer is "never" and it probably won't happen for a long, long time yet. On the desktop, well, that's an entirely different story. Not only are high overclocks common, but early looks at overclocking results on Intel's Haswell parts would indicate that the fun is just beginning, and you don't even need exotic cooling to participate.
Small form factor (SFF) computing meets up with Ivy Bridge.
When you stop and think about it, the amount of power in some of today's mini PC systems is pretty amazing. Enter Zotac, a company that lives and breathes small form factor (SFF) systems under its Zbox line, which today it infused with an Intel Core i5 3470T processor. It's a respectable desktop part built around Intel's Ivy Bridge architecture with two processing cores clocked at 2.9GHz (3.6GHz via Turbo), 3MB of cache, and a rated max TDP of 35W -- plenty powerful enough for general purpose computing.
Silvermont is significantly different from Atom architectures that have preceded it.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Silvermont, the codename for the next generation of Intel's Atom line and the first in a family of yearly refreshes. Oh, and forget any preconceived notions you have about Atom, Silvermont is far different from the architecture found in your first or second generation notebook. It's a brand new design using Intel's 22nm 3D Tri-Gate SoC (System-on-Chip), which Intel claims will deliver "significant increases in performance and energy efficiency."
Not all power supplies will support Haswell's zero load design, Enermax says.
Intel's Haswell refresh is coming, and when it does, it will deliver better performance, much improved integrated graphics, and superior power efficiency that, according to Enermax, only a handful of power supplies are able to take advantage of. Enermax is referring to the new C6 and C7 states that are able to reduce CPU power consumption to a mere 0.05A. Some Ivy Bridge chips draw up to ten times more in a minimum power state.
Select Haswell parts will feature Intel's supercharged Iris graphics.
Nobody brags about integrated graphics, and that's because there's not much there worthy of boast. That's fine, but if manufactures insist on pushing thin and light platforms on the masses and shrinking the desktop, then is it too much to ask for an integrated graphics solution that either (A) doesn't suck, or (B) is better than just serviceable? Intel doesn't think so, and its Iris graphics might be just what the market needs.
The Mainstream tech media declared the PC dead—yet again—and enthusiasts had a full-on freak-out when rumors surfaced thatIntel intended to dump socketed processors within two years. You can read the details of the story here, but let it be known far and wide, Intel will support socketed processors for the “foreseeable future.” AMD, likewise, had already taken the pledge, saying it would be offering socketed CPUs, too.
Note: This column originally appeared in the February 2013 issue of the magazine.
We all knew it was coming this summer, but now we also know it will only be 3,337,200,000,000,000 more nanoseconds until Haswell officially launches. Our back-of-the-envelope calculations align this countdown with Computex 2013, a show we fully expect to be dominated by Intel powered machines showing off the new architecture.
Intel CEO Paul Otellini recently said that touchscreen PCs could start selling for as little as $200 sometime in the next few months, though it's tough to imagine a Windows 8-based machine carrying such a low price tag. That's because they probably won't. Instead of Windows 8, most of these affordable PCs will be laptop machines built around Google's open source Android platform.