Overview and CPU Performance
When Intel announced their quad-core mobile 8th Generation Core processors in August, I was immediately interested. As a user who gravitates towards "Ultrabook" form-factor notebooks, it seemed like a no-brainer—gaining two additional CPU cores with no power draw increase.
However, the hardware reviewer in me was skeptical. Could this "Kaby Lake Refresh" CPU provide the headroom to fit two more physical cores on a die while maintaining the same 15W TDP? Would this mean that the processor fans would have to run out of control? What about battery life?
Now that we have our hands on our first two notebooks with the i7-8550U in, it's time to take a more in-depth look at Intel's first mobile offerings of the 8th Generation Core family.
Subject: General Tech | July 19, 2017 - 03:01 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: gaming, ultrabook, Lenovo, ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Techspot recently investigated the ability of current generation ultrabooks to game, without external assistance. They tested using a Lenovo X1 Carbon, similar to what Ken utilized when he benchmarked the AKiTiO Node external GPU. Techspot's model had a Core i5-7200U as opposed to the 7300U both chips have the same HD 620 iGPU, but only Ken's had help.
Techspot focused on the performance the ultrabook could provide in 34 different games, from current and past AAA games as well as eSports and even 2D indie games. Take a look through their results to see just how far we have come since the original generations of Intel iGPUs which simply could not game at all. The results show that there is indeed a market for Thunderbolt based external GPUs.
"With this in mind, we've tested 34 games on the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon: from current AAA titles to older 2D platformers, to give you an idea of what games are actually playable on modern ultraportables."
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- Creative Assembly clarify DLC plans for Warhammer 2 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Radiohead hides ZX Spectrum proggie in OK Computer re-release @ The Register
- Buy ’em up: Green Man Gaming summer sale launches @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- Star Wars: Jedi Challenges lets you wield a light sabre in AR @ Hexus
- Meet Total War: Warhammer 2’s Dark Elves @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
- The state of Mac gaming @ Ars Technica
- The successes and failures of Civilization 6 @ Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN
Subject: Processors, Mobile | July 17, 2017 - 04:32 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: ultrabook, quad core, Intel, i5-8520u, i5-7200u, hyperthreading, dell xps 13, acer swift 3, 15w
A few days ago, laptopmedia.com uncovered some listings for an unannounced revision to the Acer Swift 3 notebook.
In addition to the new Pascal-based NVIDIA MX150 GPU announced just before Computex, astute readers will also spot an unannounced CPU from Intel – the Core i5-8250U. While the model number itself doesn't tell us much other than it's a next generation CPU, the description in the Acer product listings notes it as a quad core CPU.
Following Intel's history with the U-series parts, the 8250U would traditionally be a 15W, dual core CPU with hyperthreading enabled, with the true quad core parts starting with the 35W TDP options
We've had an indication that a quad core U-series processor was coming in the second half of this year from Intel's performance claims presented at Computex this year, but we weren't quite sure what form it would take.
Doing some additional research, we can see several results from this processor in the Geekbench database from various notebook manufacturers – including devices we would expect to be refreshed like the Dell XPS 13 and ASUS Zenbook UX490.
From the Geekbench results of the XPS 13 with the i5-8520U compared to the current generation i5-7200U, we see a 54% increase in multi threaded CPU performance while only a 7% increase in single threaded performance. Keep in mind that these leaked benchmarks should be taken with a grain of salt, but we would be very impressed with these numbers in a shipping notebook.
Geekbench's processor profiler also reveals the i5-8250U to be a 4 core/8 thread processor, pointing to hyperthreading being enabled on the i5 processors as well as the i7's, like we currently see in the U-series.
Some people have been theorizing that this 8000 series processor is from the upcoming Coffee Lake release. However, based on some of the Intel roadmap leaks from late last year, I think that this is actually a Kaby Lake-R CPU. The leaked roadmap suggests that Kaby Lake-R will launch as the 8th generation processor family, to be released in the second half of 2017.
Either way, I am excited to finally see some push forward in the 15W CPU space, which I consider to be the sweet spot between battery life and performance for most users.
Stay tuned for more information on these new Intel processors and these new notebooks as we get out hands on them!
Editor’s Note: After our review of the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, Dell contacted us about our performance results. They found our numbers were significantly lower than their own internal benchmarks. They offered to send us a replacement notebook to test, and we have done so. After spending some time with the new unit we have seen much higher results, more in line with Dell’s performance claims. We haven’t been able to find any differences between our initial sample and the new notebook, and our old sample has been sent back to Dell for further analysis. Due to these changes, the performance results and conclusion of this review have been edited to reflect the higher performance results.
It's difficult to believe that it's only been a little over 2 years since we got our hands on the revised Dell XPS 13. Placing an emphasis on minimalistic design, large displays in small chassis, and high-quality construction, the Dell XPS 13 seems to have influenced the "thin and light" market in some noticeable ways.
Aiming their sights at a slightly different corner of the market, this year Dell unveiled the XPS 13 2-in-1, a convertible tablet with a 360-degree hinge. However, instead of just putting a new hinge on the existing XPS 13, Dell has designed the all-new XPS 13 2-in-1 from the ground up to be even more "thin and light" than it's older sibling, which has meant some substantial design changes.
Since we are a PC hardware-focused site, let's take a look under the hood to get an idea of what exactly we are talking about with the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1.
|Dell XPS 13 2-in-1|
|Screen||13.3” FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge touch display|
|CPU||Core i5-7Y54||Core i7-7Y75|
|GPU||Intel HD Graphics 615|
|Storage||128GB SATA||256GB PCIe|
|Network||Intel 8265 802.11ac MIMO (2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz)
1 x Thunderbolt 3
|Connectivity||USB 3.0 Type-C
USB 3.0 x 2 (MateDock)
|Audio||Dual Array Digital Microphone
Stereo Speakers (1W x 2)
|Weight||2.7 lbs ( 1.24 kg)|
|Dimensions||11.98-in x 7.81-in x 0.32-0.54-in
(304mm x 199mm x 8 -13.7 mm)
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home / Pro (+$50)|
One of the more striking design decisions from a hardware perspective is the decision to go with the low power Core i5-7Y54 processor, or as you may be familar with from it's older naming scheme, Core M. In the Kaby Lake generation, Intel has decided to drop the Core M branding (though oddly Core m3 still exists) and integrate these lower power parts into the regular Core branding scheme.
Subject: Mobile | February 20, 2017 - 02:03 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: zenbook 3, UX390UA, ultrabook, kaby lake, asus. zenbook
We caught a glance at the new ASUS ZenBook 3 at CES and today Kitguru provides a full review of one, albeit a slightly different model. The UX3901UA model contains a Kaby Lake i5-7200U with HD 620 graphics, 8GB LPDDR3-2133 and a 512GB M.2 SATA SSD. The 12.5" screen is 1080p with no adaptive graphics or other tricks. Where things seem to go off the rails is when you look at the thickness of the Zenbook, at its thickest it is 11.9mm (0.46"). This means you get no ethernet nor USB type A plugs as they simply would not fit and you have to content yourself with a single Type C plug. For some the sacrifice is worth it; if you are one who likes petite sized computers you should head over for the full review.
"What has really caught my eye about the ZenBook 3 is its physical dimensions – it measures just 11.9mm thick, while it weighs a mere 910g. With Kaby Lake hardware inside, as well as the promise of a crisp 1080p display and Harman Kardon speakers, could this be our new ultrabook of choice?"
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Subject: General Tech | July 28, 2016 - 05:33 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: xiaomi, ultraportable, ultrabook, thin and light, Intel, core m3, core i5
According to the guys over at The Tech Report, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is jumping into the notebook game with two new Mi Notebook Air ultrabooks. The all aluminum notebooks are sleek looking and priced very competitively for their specifications. They are set to release on August 2nd in China.
The new Mi Notebook Air notebooks come in 13.3" and 12.5" versions. Both models use all aluminum bodies with edge to edge glass displays (1080p though unknown what type of panel), backlit keyboards, and dual AKG speakers. Users can choose from gold or silver colors for the body and keyboard (Xiaomi uses a logo-less design which is nice).
Xiaomi Mi Notebook Air via Ars Technica.
Both models sport a single USB Type C port (which is also used for charging), two USB 3.0 Type A ports, one HDMI video output, and a headphone jack. The Xiaomi website shows an USB Type C adapter that adds extra ports as well. Internally, they have a M.2 slot for storage expansion but the notebooks do not appear to be user serviceable (though iFixit may rectify that...). Also shared is support for the company's Mi Sync software and Mi fitness band which can be used to unlock the computer when the user is in proximity.
The smaller 12.5" Mi Notebook Air is 0.51" thick and weighs just over 2.3 pounds. It is powered by an Intel Core M3 processor and Xiaomi claims that this model can hit 11.5 hours ouf battery life. Other specifications include 4 GB of RAM, a 128 GB SATA SSD, and 802.11ac wireless.
If you need a bit more computing power, the 13.3" notebook is slightly bulkier at 0.58" thick and 2.8 pounds with the tradeoff in size giving users a larger display, keyboard, and dedicated graphics card. Specifically, the 13.3" ultrabook features an Intel Core i5 processor, Nvidia Geforce 940MX GPU, 8 GB DDR4 RAM, a 256GB NVMe PCI-E SSD, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. This laptop is a bit heavier but I think the extra horsepower is worth it for those that need or want it.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about what many will see as an Apple MacBook Air clone is the pricing. The 12.5" laptop will MSRP for RMB 3499 while that 13.3" notebook will cost RMB 4999. That translates to approximately $525 and $750 USD respectively which is a great value for the specifications and size and seemingly will give Apple a run for its money in China. That's the bad news: Xiaomi does not appear to be bringing these slick looking notebooks to the US anytime soon which is unfortunate.
Introduction and Specifications
Lenovo made quite a splash with the introduction of the original X1 Carbon notebook in 2012; with its ultra-thin, ultra-light, and carbon fiber-infused construction, it became the flagship ThinkPad notebook. Fast-forward to late 2013, and the introduction of the ThinkPad Yoga; the business version of the previous year's consumer Yoga 2-in-1. The 360-degree hinge was novel for a business machine at the time, and the ThinkPad Yoga had a lot of promise, though it was far from perfect.
Now we fast-forward again, to the present day. It's 2016, and Lenovo has merged their ThinkPad X1 Carbon and ThinkPad Yoga together to create the X1 Yoga. This new notebook integrates the company's Yoga design (in appearance this is akin to the recent ThinkPad Yoga 260/460 revision) into the flagship ThinkPad X lineup, and provides what Lenovo is calling "the world's lightest 14-inch business 2-in-1".
Yoga and Carbon Merge
When Lenovo announced the marriage of the X1 Carbon notebook with the ThinkPad Yoga, I took notice. A buyer of the original ThinkPad Yoga S1 (with which I had a love/hate relationship) I wondered if the new X1 version of the business-oriented Yoga convertible would win me over. On paper it checks all the right boxes, and the slim new design looks great. I couldn't wait to get my hands on one for some real-world testing, and to see if my complaints about the original TP Yoga design were still valid.
As one would expect from a notebook carrying Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 branding, this new Yoga is quite slim, and made from lightweight materials. Comparing this new Yoga to the X1 Carbon directly, the most obvious difference is that 360° hinge, which is the hallmark of the Yoga series, and exclusive to those Lenovo designs. This hinge allows the X1 Yoga to be used as a notebook, tablet, or any other imaginable position in between.
|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga (base configuration, as reviewed)|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-6200U (Skylake)|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics 520|
|Screen||14-in 1920x1080 IPS Touch (with digitizer, active pen)|
|Storage||256GB M.2 SSD|
|Camera||720p / Digital Array Microphone|
|Wireless||Intel 8260 802.11ac + BT 4.1 (Dual Band, 2x2)|
3x USB 3.0
Audio combo jack
|Dimensions||333mm x 229 mm x 16.8mm (13.11" x 9.01" x 0.66")
2.8 lbs. (1270 g)
|OS||Windows 10 Pro|
|Price||$1349 - Amazon.com|
A Very Familiar Look and Feel
Released alongside the launch of Windows 8 in October 2012, the original Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 was a revolutionary device. While Microsoft's initial vision for a touch-enabled Windows may have not panned out exactly as they wanted it to, people still found utility in 2-in-1 devices like the Yoga. In the proceeding years, similar devices from companies like HP and Dell have arose, but consumers ultimately migrated towards Lenovo's offerings.
The Yoga line has seen several drastic changes since it's inception in 2012. Industrial design changes like the Watchband Hinge introduced in the Yoga 3 Pro, and the spinning off of Yoga out of the IdeaPad brand into it's own family this generation with the Yoga 900 point towards the longevity of this 2-in-1 design.
Today we are taking a look at the most affordable option in the Yoga family, the Lenovo Yoga 700.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | April 6, 2016 - 10:01 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: ultrabook, thinnest laptop, Spectre 13.3, notebook, laptop, Intel Core i7, Intel Core i5, hp
HP announced their thinnest notebook ever - and "the world's thinnest laptop" period, according to HP - yesterday with the new Spectre 13.3.
The 10.4 mm thick HP Spectre 13.3 (Image credit: Engadget)
It's an astonishingly thin design, with a "CNC machined aluminum chassis as thin as an AAA-battery at just 10.4 mm", and yet it manages to avoid using Core M (or even mobile SoC) parts, opting instead for full Intel Core i5 and Core i7 mobile processors.
(Image credit: Anandtech)
Here's a list of the Spectre 13.3's features from HP:
- A carbon fiber bottom creates a thin profile that is both durable and lightweight, keeping the total weight of the notebook at just 2.45 pounds
- High gloss copper accents reflect a hand-polished, jewelry-like finish and an innovative hidden piston hinge creates the illusion of a hinge-less design to offer an unmatched premium look-and-feel
- An innovative hybrid battery split into two thinner pieces delivers the same wattage as a single battery for up to 9 and half hours of battery life while enabling the world's thinnest laptop
- Full HD IPS edge-to-edge display featuring Corning Gorilla delivers a superb viewing experience for editing photos, perfecting a presentation, or watching a movie.
- 6th generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors and a lightning fast PCIe SSD with storage up to 512 GB with up to 8 GB of memory for maximum performance. Integration of Intel hyperbaric cooling system keeps the machine running cool even with powerful processors in a small package
- Stereo speakers by Bang & Olufsen with HP Audio Boost technology, a combination of hardware and software to give customers the depth they want.
- Three full function USB Type-C connectors, including two of which support Thunderbolt, to provide a fast, versatile I/O connection.
The hyperbaric cooling system (Image credit: Anandtech)
Note the mention of "Integration of Intel hyperbaric cooling system..." in the above list. We first saw hyperbaric cooling back in 2010 with products like the Dell Vostro V130, and the system is based on pulling cool air from outside of the enclosure, rather than simply pushing it out.
A look inside the Spectre 13.3 (Image credit: PC World)
With the use of regular laptop processors inside an enclosure as thin as this new Spectre 13.3 cooling will be crucial, though (as speculated by Anandtech in their post) actual clock speeds for the processors may have been lowered significantly due on thermal restrictions.
What exactly are the specifications for the Spectre 13.3? Here's what we know (via Anandtech):
- CPU: Intel Core i5-6200U or Intel Core i7-6500U
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520
- RAM: 8 GB
- Storage: 256 GB or 512 GB PCIe SSD
- I/O: 3x USB 3.1 Type-C, 2x Thunderbolt, audio jack
- Thickness: 10.4 mm (0.41 inches)
- Weight: 1.10 kg (2.45 lbs)
- Pricing (256 GB SSD): Core i5, $1170; Core i7, $1250
Exact specs on memory standard/speed, Wi-Fi, etc. were not available, and availability has not been announced.
Subject: Mobile | January 3, 2016 - 10:30 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: ultrabook, ThinkPad X260, Thinkpad, Lenovo, CES 2016, CES
Lenovo has announced their latest X200-series notebook at CES 2016, and the X260 brings updated Intel 6th gen Skylake processors and up to 21 hours of battery life.
"Portable, powerful in a thin, light, enterprise-ready Ultrabook, ThinkPad X260 is a high-performance 12.5" Ultrabook that can deliver more than 21 hours of continuous, unplugged mobile productivity. This lightweight notebook features 6th Generation Intel CoreTM i processors and a full range of display, storage, memory and connectivity options to enhance productivity in any work environment."
The X260 provides a lot of power in a 12.5-inch, 2.9 lb package, offering some pretty impressive specs - though of course that all depends on your chosen configuration.
Here are some of the specs listed by Lenovo:
- 2.9lbs. and 0.79” thin
- Up to Intel 6th Gen Core i7 processors
- Up to 12.5” FHD (1920x1080) IPS
- Up to Windows 10 Pro
- Integrated Intel graphics
- 720p HD camera
- Up to 16GB DDR4 memory
- Up to 512GB SATA or PCIe
- Dolby Advanced Audio
- Up to 21 hours of battery life with PowerBridge (MobileMark 2012)
- Dimensions: 12.03” x 8.21” x 0.8”
- WLAN/WiGig & WWAN options
- Ports: 3 x USB 3.0, RJ45, Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, 4-in-1 card reader
The ThinkPad X260 will be available in February starting at $929.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!