Intel’s next generation ‘ultrabook’

INTEL has launched its first batch of 10 nanometre CPUs, claiming its new chips will spearhead the next evolution of laptops almost a decade after it helped usher in the era of thin-and-light notebook PCs with its “Ultrabook” initiative. Intel showcased how the company, together with industry partners, is transforming intelligent computing for our data-centric world.
To develop the Ultrabook, Intel essentially inverted its development cycle: the company had typically developed central processing units (CPU) for PCs, then developed the operating systems and applications to suit it.
Its CPUs have been marred by a new class of security attacks and it faces strong competition on the desktop from an AMD.
In terms of CPU performance, Ice Lake is faster but not a significant leap over the previous generation of processors. It has, however, received a huge boost in the integrated graphics department, making 1080p, reasonable frame rate gaming on modern titles like Destiny 2 a possibility on thin and light laptops.
The “Gen11” integrated graphics can also drive a 4K external monitor at 120Hz with 10-bit colour, or at 5K 60Hz.
Intel’s Ice Lake processors will be used as a launching pad for Project Athena; a multi-year program that charts a course for the PC ecosystem and should lead to a tangibly better laptop experience for consumers.
Project Athena laptops will need to hit nine hours of real-world battery life, meaning PC manufacturers won’t be able to fudge their battery life claims with video playback benchmarks that barely tax the processor. Charging times will receive a huge boost as well with project Athena laptops getting up to 4 hours of power within 30 minutes of charging.
Intel gave a first look at four laptops that meet Athena requirements, which include Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1, the ultralight Acer Swift 5, HP’s Envy 13 Wood Series.
“Honeycomb Glacier” features a built-in stand mechanism that lifts the primary 15.6-inch display to eye level and raises the secondary 12.3-inch display at an angle, for a two-screen experience similar to the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo but without the need to hunch over it.
Foldable PCs are set to hit the market next year but, according to Intel, two LCD screens will always be cheaper than a single foldable OLED. As such, it sees this setup as a more affordable option for those who want a foldable style PC experience without the premium price tag.
Intel reinvented in 2011 both the PC market and its own operations. At the time, personal computing was undergoing a sea change toward devices that were ultra-portable, low-cost and power-efficient, but the demand had gotten ahead of the technology: laptops did not sufficiently meet the above criteria, while tablets and netbooks did so by sacrificing too much performance.
Intel began to create a new type of device that would fill the gap — they called it the Ultrabook. Intel had long provided design sheets to manufacturers to help them implement Intel microprocessors, but this reflected a new ambition: to create a new product for PC manufacturers who had not yet developed it for themselves.

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