SAN FRANCISCO: CHIPMAKER Intel said ultrabooks sporting fourth generation Haswell processors will be "much more than thin-and-light" and talked about a 10W TDP part.
Kirk Skaugen, corporate VP and GM of Intel's PC Client Group, took to the stage at IDF to play up the future of ultrabooks as the firm tries to keep consumers interested in laptop PCs. He said 2013 will be the year that Intel "reinvents the notebook" and showed off a software development laptop codenamed Harris Beach, while claiming that a new 10W TDP processor will become the basis for the firm's laptop push next year.
Skaugen said Haswell processors are the first to be designed specifically for ultrabooks. He said that Intel will introduce Clover Trail Atom processors that don't exceed 2W TDP and a 10W TDP unbranded module that combines both CPU and chipset into a single package, claiming these advances will result in a doubling of battery life.
While Skaugen claimed double the battery life for Haswell laptops, he also mentioned that the firm is working with OEMs on thinner designs, which strongly suggests that laptops will get thinner rather than finally delivering 10 hour battery life.
Skaugen also revealed that Haswell's GPU will be able to vary the number of active execution cores and said it will support 4K resolutions and three displays. Although Skaugen didn't reveal any low-level technical details about Haswell's GPU, given that the firm won't have a new process node to rely on for extra silicon real estate, an increment rather than a step change as seen with Ivy Bridge is more likely.
Skaugen also claimed that Intel had not changed its ultrabook sales forecasts but did say that Intel is looking for Windows 8 to push ultrabook sales. Of course what Skaugen didn't say is that Intel recently revised down the sales forecast for Skaugen's division.
Intel's Haswell chips will need to facilitate the designs of laptop PCs that are considerably different from Apple's Macbook Air in order to lure customers into buying ultrabooks that do not bear fruit logos. µ
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