Intel has just announced the availability of its new Intel Core (Haswell) family of processors in Singapore. The new generation chips have already been covered in extensive detail when our team went to Computex in early June. You can find out more about the 4th generation chips here, while expectations about its graphics performance can be found here.
And if you're looking for a notebook running a 4th generation Intel Core processor, check out the Sony Vaio series of products. On the other end of the spectrum, there's also the very powerful, redesigned Dell Alienware notebooks which are for sale now. For those who desire a performance oriented machine without the bulk, but yet it's handy, we tested out our very first "Haswell" equipped notebook with the MSI GE40 2OC Dragon Eyes slim gaming notebook.
To recap, Intel's 4th generation Core processors with its Intel Iris Graphics (5000, 5100, and 5200) promise graphics performance of up to two times better than what the previous generation Intel HD 4000 onboard graphics are capable of.
Add this to its other major improvement, which is (up to) 50% better battery life, and you'll get a platform that is not only gives us powerful and energy efficient Ultrabooks, and also convertible, hybrid or even 2-in-1 design Ultrabooks. We can attest to the powerful battery life performance from our recent review of the MSI GE40 2OC notebook that uses the new Intel fourth generation Core processing platform.
With this new platform, manufacturers are also able to produce much thinner, lighter, and even fanless notebooks and tablets thanks to its low 6 watt SDP (scenario design power). Take note however, that SDP is different from TDP (thermal design power, which refers to the upper limit of power draw in actual intensive use), and is used to describe a chip's average power draw in typical use scenarios. A typical 4th generation Intel Core processor used in Ultrabooks has a 15W TDP, while its equivalent in the 3rd generation Intel Core processor has a 17W TDP.
SDP numbers are obviously a better marketing angle with its suppressed figures, but there could be more to it. One of the answers from an Intel representative was that SDP figures are closer to the metrics used to measure power draw on mobile chips (phones and tablets), and could be an attempt by Intel to provide a unified metric for all of its chips.
PC manufacturers were also present the event to showcase some of the latest notebooks running the new 4th generation Intel Core processors. An interesting observation that we'd like to share, is that most notebooks (even mainstream multimedia ones with discrete graphics and optical drives) were running ultra low power class processors (identified by the model number ending with a U). They are also significantly thinner and lighter than conventional multimedia notebooks.
Perhaps this could be a new direction that manufacturers are adopting whereby the increased compute power in the latest generation CPUs allow them to choose a lower powered model to fulfill the processing demands from consumers. At the same time, these notebooks can sport a slim and portable design due to a more integrated and simpler internal design that doesn't require a huge battery pack or a robust cooling system. We've already witnessed this trend taking hold with Razer and MSI introducing rather capable slim gaming machines.
As for the enterprise side of things, Intel also announced the availability of its 4th generation Intel vPro processor family. Devices with these processors on board have the same advantages as regular consumer devices with 4th generation Intel Core processors, but also have the necessary security features that enterprise devices need to help keep data safe from prying eyes, along with system manageability features for IT admins.