IFA 2017: Notebooks now take advantage of Intel’s newest processors


The new Dell XPS 13, Acer Switch Black Edition and Asus ZenBook Flip S are going to be the first batch of notebooks and convertibles to be powered by Intel’s new 8th Gen ‘Core i’ series of chipsets, which are believed to be 40% faster than their predecessors.

These new devices will be on show at the IFA 2017 (Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin) tech show, which starts on Friday in Berlin.

According to Intel, the new family of chipsets used in these notebooks have been specifically designed for thin and light notebooks and convertibles. They will have three variants. The variants available right now will be based on the 14nm+ architecture used in 7th gen Kaby Lake processors. The other two variants which will arrive later will be based on the new 14nm++ architecture (codenamed Coffee Lake), and 10nm architecture (Cannon Lake).

The top-end product in the new 8th Gen family, known as Intel Core i7 8550U, offers four cores with 8 threads and has a clock speed of 4.20GHz at max turbo frequency. The predecessor Intel core i7 7660U has only two cores, 4 threads and boost clock speed of 4GHz.

The new Ryzen 7 chipsets for notebooks from rival AMD also offer a quad cores with 8 threads but has a max clock speed of 4GHz.

Intel’s Hyper threading technology makes the operating system treat a single core CPU as a dual core CPU, allowing them to share resources if there are too many apps and processes running simultaneously on the notebook. Having four cores and eight threads at disposal means the chipset will be able to handle multiple tasks and processes more efficiently. A lot of modern-day apps run multiple tasks and each of them require independent threads to run properly. For example, Chrome and Firefox browsers run every web page or tab as a new process and require more threads to run.

Higher clock speed gives the chispet the extra legroom to handle heavy tasks and games better. Intel claims the new chipsets are better-prepared to handle 4K and VR content on thin notebooks and convertibles.

Here are some of the notebooks and convertibles which will be the first to take advantage of Intel’s new 8th Gen chipsets, announced at IFA 2017.

Asus ZenBook Flip S is driven by Intel Core i7 8550U chipset with 8GB RAM and offers 1TB SSD.

Asus ZenBook Flip S is driven by Intel Core i7 8550U chipset with 8GB RAM and offers 1TB SSD.

Asus ZenBook Flip S

Asus’ new ultra slim laptop convertible, the ZenBook Flip S, is driven by Intel Core i7 8550U chipset with 8GB RAM and offers 1TB SSD. It offers a 13.3-inch display with touch support and 4K resolution of 3840x2160p. It is 11mm thick with the lid down and weighs slightly over 1kg. Its other notable element is the 360-degree flip design, a trademark of the Flip series, which allows the screen to be flipped backwards and used as tablet. The ZenBook Flip S will be available form this month at a starting price of $1,099 (approximately Rs70,325).

Acer Switch Black Edition

Acer’s Switch Black is not just one of the first to run on Intel’s Core i7 8th Gen chipset, it is also the first fanless 2-in-1 notebook. It uses Acer’s Dual LiquidLoop cooling technology which keeps the device cool by continuous process of condensation of the cooling liquid packed inside a heat pipe built in the laptop.

Switch 7 Black uses Nvidia’s GeForce MX150 graphics and offers a 13.5-inch touch display with resolution of 2,256×1,504p. It comes with a detachable keyboard, a metallic kickstand at the display to keep it propped up and weighs 1.2kg. It will be available in US from December 2017 at $1,699 (approximately Rs1,08,816).

Dell XPS 13

The latest avatar of Dell XPS 13 will be using Intel’s 8th Gen chipsets too and will be available in Core i7 and i5 variants in US by the middle of September 2017 at starting price of $799 (approximately Rs51,172). The notebook offers a 13-3-inch display with Quad HD + (3200x1800p) resolution. It will be using Intel’s integrated 620 graphics, has 16GB RAM and offers up to 1TB SSD. It is going to be smallest and XPS notebook ever, claims Dell, and weighs just 1.2kg.