Haswell is Here
The next generation of Intel processors has arrived and they promise to provide more performance for everything from video editing to making and showing complex lessons. The payoff is that these fourth-generation Core i chips (photo, left) have been designed to do this while using the same or less power as their predecessors In other words, perfect for notebooks, tablets and high-output desktops as well.
Here’s a look at the first few systems.
HP’s ProBook 450 are not only sturdily built and should last longer than their warranties, but are thinner, lighter and more powerful than the systems they replace. They’re available with screens from 13.3- to 17.3-inches and in addition to the new processor, the ProBooks have Intel’s WiDi system for wirelessly sending images and sound to a projector. The family of systems starts at $500 and touch displays are optional.
By contrast, Acer is concentrating on Haswell Ultrabooks with its slim Aspire S7-392, which uses a 13.3-inch screen and has a battery that should go for a full school day. So that it keeps its cool, the Aspire S7 has Acer’s second-generation TwinAir cooling, which automatically adjusts the fan to suit the system’s temperature and minimize noise. Happily, it has Intel’s latest Core i processors and wireless WiDi.
The smallest member of the Haswell generation just might be Sony’s VAIO Pro system. It’s a touch system that is available with either an 11.6- or 13.3-inch screen. All told, it weighs just 1.9- or 2.3-pounds, depending on the screen. As is the case with other new VAIO models, the Pro has Near Field Communications technology for quickly configuring Bluetooth accessories, like wireless speakers or a keyboard. The systems cost a hefty $1,150 and $1,250 but come with a three year warranty.
Toshiba stuffs its Satellite P family with the most powerful components, from the latest Haswell processors to the ability to get up to 32GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. The systems can be ordered with an Nvidia GeForce GT740M graphics chip with up to 2GB of video memory that can be switched back and forth with the system’s lower-power dedicated video chip. The Satellite P comes with DTS Studio Sound, Harman Kardon speakers and is available with 15.6- and 17.3-inch screens.
Asus’s M51 is a desktop with the latest Haswell processors and includes an automatic fan that changes speed so that the system keeps its cool while not being too loud. The big step for forward is its built-in Power Pack, which acts like an uninterruptible power supply for the system in the event of a blackout or blown fuse, but is removable so it can double as a portable way to recharge tablets or phones. It even has Qi’s wireless recharging system built into the tray on the top of the tower case so that it can charge phones or a tablet without plugging them in.