UltrabookNews, Reviews and the Ultrabook Database http://ultrabooknews.com Ultrabook News, Reviews and Database Thu, 30 Apr 2015 21:06:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 Dell Wireless Dock offers seamless WiGig connectivity, at a price. http://ultrabooknews.com/2015/04/30/dell-wireless-dock-offers-seamless-wigig-connectivity-at-a-price/ http://ultrabooknews.com/2015/04/30/dell-wireless-dock-offers-seamless-wigig-connectivity-at-a-price/#comments Thu, 30 Apr 2015 21:06:54 +0000 http://ultrabooknews.com/?p=11971 dell-wireless-dock-desk_550

We first started reporting on WiGiG back in 2012 with a prediction that WiGiG ‘docking’ would be available in 2013. It was! Dell launched the Latitude 6430u in 2012 and a WiGig dock was available in 2013. It was a pre-spec WiGig however and when WiGig moved into the USB Alliance there was a long period where nothing happened. The next WiGig dock to hit the market was the HP unit that I checked out at CeBIT 2015. Today it’s Dell’s turn again and it looks like the wheels are rolling.  The Dell Universal Dock will be available starting April 30th for €329.64.

Dell 'Trinity' WiGig docking station. Model 452-BBUX

Dell ‘Trinity’ WiGig docking station. Model 452-BBUX

 

€329 is a lot of money (it’s €267 pre-tax, $299 dollars in conversion, Norwegian price for model) and clearly this is aimed at businesses for now. It also requires the laptop to have the Intel Tri–Band Wireless–AC 17265 WiFi module. You’ll find that as an option on some Dell Latitude models in the 5000 and 7000 range. What is gives you is a ‘transparent’ wireless display, USB and network connectivity. There should be no discernible difference between this and cabled solutions. At least that’s the theory behind this 60 Ghz close-range wireless technology.

The big question is, can you bring in an HP WiGig-enabled laptop and use this Dell WiGi docking solution? At CeBIT this year I heard that there was a manufacturers ‘lock’ option which would prevent interoperability so I urge anyone that has the opportunity to test this to do so, and to let everyone know the result. This is important!

The other question is price. There’s nothing in this docks that’s expensive so if sales numbers rise, prices should drop and eventually match the prices of the DisplayLink docks that are available – currently around $150.

The Wireless Dock allows you to work more efficiently by powering up to two external displays (VGA, HDMI and mDP), keyboard, mouse, audio and other peripherals. The dock is equipped with two USB ports in front and three in the back to provide you the flexibility to work with as many devices as you need to manage your busy work flow.

Ports:

  • 1 x display / video – VGA
  • 1 x display / video – Mini DisplayPort
  • 1 x audio / video – HDMI
  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 3 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0
  • 1 x network

Weight: 12.8 oz

References: Intel, Liliputing, Dell, Del, Dell Norway.

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After 9 months the Surface Pro 3 is still a great Ultrabook alternative. http://ultrabooknews.com/2015/04/20/after-9-months-the-surface-pro-3-is-still-a-great-ultrabook-alternative/ http://ultrabooknews.com/2015/04/20/after-9-months-the-surface-pro-3-is-still-a-great-ultrabook-alternative/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 14:45:01 +0000 http://ultrabooknews.com/?p=11963  

Surface Pro 3 and Type Cover keyboard accessory.

Surface Pro 3 and Type Cover keyboard accessory.

I’ve just finished the longest, most detailed review I’ve ever published. My 6400+ word Surface Pro 3 full review is up at UMPCPortal and you might be wondering why it took so long. The fact is that it took me over 5 months to realise that the Surface Pro 3 is an incredible ultrabook alternative, ultra mobile Tablet PC and a great desktop PC. It’s extremely well engineered and the modularity is inspiring, if a little expensive. After 6 months of ownership the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 has definitely earned itself a full review.

I’ve been using the Surface Pro 3 as my main PC for the last 6 months and have completed over 600 hours of screen-on time. I’ve produced over 100 videos on the Surface Pro 3, written tens of thousands of words on it, used it as a completely wireless presentation device, it’s been my hot-desking solution, I’ve created music with it, travelled with it in Germany, UK and Ukraine and, importantly, felt proud to be using it.

You’ll read in the review that I didn’t buy the Surface Pro 3 as it’s a long-term loaner from Intel that replaces a broken Ultrabook (a non-retail developer Ultrabook) that I had been using and I admit that I probably would not have considered this $1000+ package at all 6 months ago. Even today with Ultrabooks like the Dell XPS 13 about it’s a tough choice but having seen the quality and experienced true improvements with Microsoft’s firmware and driver updates I feel it’s worth it.

Battery life could be better as I only get a 5.5 hours average out of it but for the weight and processing power there aren’t many other options. The keyboard can sound and feel a little strange but it works well and since I did a little spacebar modification it’s been stress-free and productive for. It’s not a ‘lapping’ tablet despite the stand but that stand makes a lot of difference to the way you use it and when you’ve got the included digitizer stylus in your hand you feel empowered to annotate the day away. Students take ‘note.’

Surface Pro 3 comes with digitizer pen.

Surface Pro 3 comes with digitizer pen.

My huge in-depth review goes into every nook and cranny of the Surface Pro 3 and offers tips for those that already own it. If you’ve been looking at convertibles laptops based on the Ultrabook platform, please take the time to consider the Surface Pro 3.

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HP Spectre X360. Inside and out a craft Ultrabook http://ultrabooknews.com/2015/03/03/hp-spectre-x360-inside-and-out-a-craft-ultrabook/ http://ultrabooknews.com/2015/03/03/hp-spectre-x360-inside-and-out-a-craft-ultrabook/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:34:03 +0000 http://ultrabooknews.com/?p=11954 HP Spectre X360

HP Spectre X360

 

HP launched the Spectre X360 at MWC and as I’m here working with MobileGeeks I’ve had a chance to get some hands-on and look at the internals. It’s a beautifully crafted Ultrabook convertible from both perspectives and the big battery is going to give it battery life in the 8-10 hours range which means it’s a competitor to the current belle-of-the-ball, the Dell XPS 13.

Take a look at the video below and you’ll see a beautiful screen with great colors and contrast, a machined metal casing, the biggest touchpad ever, three charging-capable USB 3.0 ports, full-size HDMI and a MiniDP port that will give you great screen flexibility. The Spectre X360 runs on a Broadwell-U Core i5 or Core i7 CPU and has an M.2 SSD slot. The memory is soldered (up to 8GB I understand) which might be a disadvantage for some but look at that huge battery. 56 Wh means you’ll be able to leave the charger at home.

HP tell me that the Adobe RGB colorspace figure is 73% which is huge so photographers will be happy to know that there’s a full size SD card slot.

HP Spectre X360

HP Spectre X360 internals include 56 Wh battery

One week ago I wanted the new Dell XPS 13 but now I’m not so sure. Pricing will start at just under 1000 Euro but that will include touch so when you make the obvious comparison to the Dell XPS 13 (2015) you need to bear that in mind. Watch the video below to help with that decision and please, let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Gorgeous, featureful Dell XPS 13 starts at $799, could be ‘the one.’ Details here. http://ultrabooknews.com/2015/01/07/gorgeous-featureful-dell-xps-13-starts-at-799-could-be-the-one-details-here/ http://ultrabooknews.com/2015/01/07/gorgeous-featureful-dell-xps-13-starts-at-799-could-be-the-one-details-here/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 00:13:00 +0000 http://ultrabooknews.com/?p=11945 XPS 13 Ultrabook Touch NotebookI’m looking closely at the specs, watching the hands-on videos from CES 2015 and thinking, yes, perhaps this is ‘the one.’ The XPS 13 not only looks fabulous but it’s got specs, a great battery life and starts at just $799 with a Full HD ‘infinity’ display.

The new Dell XPS 13 with 5th-Gen Core (Broadwell) is undoubtedly a stunning looking device but if you take a closer look you’ll see the stars aligning for what could be the best Ultrabook ever. You’ve got no-touch options starting at $799 and, if you dare, a QHD+ (3200 x 1800) touch option with 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD and a Core i7 for just $1599. All models have AC WiFi, Sync and Charge USB, DisplayPort, backlit full-size keyboard and a precision touchpad which has already had good feedback from The Verge. (See videos below.) Even fully loaded the XPS 13 weighs just 1.26KG (2.8 lbs) and the best thing is that it’s got a 54Wh battery inside that’s going to power this Ultrabook for a hard day’s work. Trust me, I’ve had the same setup on a Haswell ultrabook and you really can leave the power adaptor at home.

Dell XPS 13 2015 with Infinity screen launched at CES

Dell XPS 13 2015 with Infinity screen launched at CES

$799 Dell XPS 13 with infinity display (2015) specifications.

  • 5th Generation Intel® Core™ i3-5010U Processor (3M Cache, 2.10 GHz)
  • Windows 8.1 (64Bit) English
  • 4GB Dual Channel DDR3L-RS 1600Mhz (On Board)
  • 128GB Solid State Drive
  • Intel (R) HD Graphics 5500
  • 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) infinity display
  • 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.0, Dual Band 2.4&5 GHz, 2×2
  • 52 WHr, 4-Cell Battery (integrated)
  • USB 3.0 w/Powershare (2), mini DisplayPort (1), SD card reader, headset jack (1), Noble lock (1), 3-in-1 Card Reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC)
  • Dimensions & Weight
    Height: 0.33-0.6″ (9-15mm) / Width: 11.98″ (304mm) / Depth: 7.88″ (200mm)
    2.6lbs (1.18kg), 3200 x 1800
  • Exterior Chassis Materials
    CNC machined aluminum
    Edge-to-edge Corning® Gorilla® Glass NBT™ on QHD+
    Carbon fiber composite palm rest with soft touch paint
  • Keyboard
    Full size, backlit chiclet keyboard; 1.3mm travel
  • Touchpad
    Precision touchpad, seamless glass integrated button
Dell Power Companion

Dell Power Companion

The high-end version comes with the QHD+  touchscreen, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD and a Core i7 5500U for $1899,99.

Ship dates for the XPS 13 are 22nd Jan (Core i3) and 28th Jan (Core i7.)

If the battery life isn’t enough for you there’s an external power pack available, the 12,000 mAh (possibly 44Wh) Dell Power Companion, that will boost battery life by up-to 7 hours. (Image, right.)

Dell US product page.

CES 2015 Press release.

More images in our gallery.

Video playlist below.

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Broadwell-U Processors officially launch. Here’s a performance, battery life and features round-up. http://ultrabooknews.com/2015/01/05/broadwell-u-processors-officially-launch-heres-a-performance-battery-life-and-features-round-up/ http://ultrabooknews.com/2015/01/05/broadwell-u-processors-officially-launch-heres-a-performance-battery-life-and-features-round-up/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 17:58:46 +0000 http://ultrabooknews.com/?p=11938 5th_Gen_Intel_Core_processor_with_Intel_Iris_Graphics_die

Just a few days ago I was tempted to wrap up this site. The Intel Ultrabook project was finished a long time ago and new products using the trademark had tailed-off. The segment got a bit fuzzy and when Samsung announced that the Ativ Book 9 would relaunch with a Core M processor I was ready to continue the story of ultra mobile laptops at UMPCPortal. Today this site’s near-future has been secured thanks to activities at CES in Las Vegas. The Lenovo X1 Carbon got a refresh with the newly announced 5th-Generation Core i7 and Intel have just referenced the Ultrabook in their press release on the launch of the new range of Core CPUs. Broadwell-U is here!

10 new 5th-Generation Core Mobile CPUs with 15W TDP were launched today and we’re expecting real-world performance benchmark figures to follow.

Broadwell-U Performance and battery life.

Don’t expect a huge jump in performance. Intel are quoting 24 percent better graphics performance and up to 50 percent faster video conversion (Intel Quick Sync.) In terms of CPU performance it all depends on the thermal design. Given the same thermal headroom the 5th-Gen CPUs should be able to Turbo for longer until they reach the same temperature but given that most of the new laptops and 2-in-1s using these processors will have a different thermal envelope it will depend a lot on the product. Stay tuned for tests but expect 10-20 CPU performance increase in some benchmarks.

Also of note is the TDP-Down configuration available which will force these CPUs to run down to 7.5W in some cases which means throttled speed-stepping and Turbo and therefore throttled performance. You’re likely to see that in 2-in-1 detachable designs although it’s difficult to imagine that many detachable designs will choose Broadwell-U over Core M – the CPU designed for that very form-factor.

In terms of battery life you’ll probably see about 10-15% improvement being quoted by manufacturers. Intel are quoting up to 1.5hrs on a system with a 40Wh battery and that matches roughly with what Lenovo are saying about the new X1 Carbon 2015 with an increase from 9 to over 10 hours of battery life. Be aware that there’s a new audio decoder in the 5th-Gen Core architecture which will bring good percentage improvements during video playback. In other scenarios the improvement may not be as noticeable.

There are already a few laptops out there using the new CPU. The ASUS Zenbook UX303LA has been listed in various places and the Lenovo X1 Carbon has already been mentioned but as CES kicks off its press day you should expect the list of Ultrabook or Ultrabook-like devices to increase during the next 48 hours. We’ll try to get the products into the Ultrabook database ASAP.

Intel Smart SoundBroadwell-U Features.

The audio decoding subsystem also includes optional codecs for processing from Waves and DTS along with wake-on-voice features as seen in Core M. There are new video decoding features too.  Decode ‘support’ for VP8,VP9 and HEVC is included but my understanding is that this might not be a full hardware decode.

Support for the latest graphics APIs (DX 11.2, DX 12 Ready) and graphics programmability features, including OpenCL 2.0 and OpenGL 4.3 are included in the HD 5500 and HD 6000 GPU. The Iris graphics HD 6100 appears in 28W Broadwell-U processors and as such is not likely to appear in Ultrabook-class devices.

Also announced today was Intel WiDi V5.1 which can support (given the right WiFi module, software and CPU) up to 4K wireless streaming.

New Broadwell / 5th Gen Core processors announced. (15W TDP)

Click through to access Intel’s processor database information.)

Intel® Core™ i3-5010U Processor  (3M Cache, 2.10 GHz), HD Graphics 5500

Intel® Core™ i3-5005U Processor  (3M Cache, 2.00 GHz), HD Graphics 5500

Intel® Core™ i5-5250U Processor  (3M Cache, up to 2.70 GHz), , HD Graphics 6000

Intel® Core™ i5-5200U Processor  (3M Cache, up to 2.70 GHz),  HD Graphics 5500

Intel® Core™ i5-5350U Processor  (3M Cache, up to 2.90 GHz), HD Graphics 6000

Intel® Core™ i5-5300U Processor  (3M Cache, up to 2.90 GHz), HD Graphics 5500

Intel® Core™ i7-5550U Processor  (4M Cache, up to 3.00 GHz), HD Graphics 6000

Intel® Core™ i7-5500U Processor  (4M Cache, up to 3.00 GHz), HD Graphics 5500

Intel® Core™ i7-5650U Processor  (4M Cache, up to 3.20 GHz), HD Graphics 6000

Intel® Core™ i7-5600U Processor  (4M Cache, up to 3.20 GHz), HD Graphics 5500

With Core M already on the shelf it gives manufacturers a wide range of choice. Tablet-style 2-in-1s and consumer focused Ultrabook-style devices are likely to use the Core M processor which leaves Broadwell-U for more serious work. Does this mean that we’ll get back to the original Ultrabook laptop formula which was focused on productivity, mobility, battery life and business? We’re hoping so.

The Intel press release is available as a PDF here.

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Broadwell-U Core i7-5500U test gives us performance clues. http://ultrabooknews.com/2015/01/02/broadwell-u-core-i7-5500u-test-gives-us-performance-clues/ http://ultrabooknews.com/2015/01/02/broadwell-u-core-i7-5500u-test-gives-us-performance-clues/#comments Fri, 02 Jan 2015 21:14:54 +0000 http://ultrabooknews.com/?p=11932 Core i7-5500U

Haswell-U series processors were the ultimate generation for Ultrabooks. The goal was to have an SoC with usable integrated graphics in a 15W TDP and it delivered. It delivered great battery life through the new power control architecture, fast video conversion and optimisation hardware and ‘always-on’ through the Microsoft InstantGo feature on Windows 8. The next generation of that CPU, based on much the same architecture as the Haswell-U generation, is just about to reach the market and in just a few days we’re expecting the first real hands-on with products and prototypes based on Broadwell-U. But just how much better is it going to be? A recent test of a new HP envy 15 with the Core i7-5500U processor gives us some clues.

A process change from 22 to 14nm decreases die size and reduces power leakage which means you get more efficiency. When we transitioned from Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge we saw 10-20% CPU performance improvements for similar processors based on better Turbo capability – the ‘overclocking’ capability of the processor. If the heat stays low, the CPU can Turbo Boost for longer. We also saw a slight change in the graphics architechture in that Sandy Bridge to Ivy Bridge update and that’s something we’ll also see in the move from Haswell-U to Broadwell-U. In addition to that you’re going to see hardware audio decoding and processing which will reduce power usage further in some scenarios, like watching a film for example.

In a test by The Dave Experience on YouTube (shown below) we see a 4th-gen (Haswell) Core i7 4510U (nominal 2 Ghz) going up against a new 5th generation (Broadwell-U) Core i7 5500U with a nominal 2.0 Ghz clock. The new Broadwell-U CPU was found on an HP Envy 15 in retail shop stock and it’s the same processor that will appear in the high-end models of the new ASUS Zenbook UX303. The GPU clock frequencies are slightly different so a direct comparison of graphics performance is not easy. At best though we’re seeing 20-40% improvements on graphics performance and that’s totally dependant on Turbo Boost. Comparing the two processors on two different mainboard and chassis designs doesn’t give us any conclusive figures but with 3D Mark Vantage clocking in with the new HD 5500 GPU at 5,124 points we’ve at least got a new bar for this performance test using an Ultrabook-class processor. The HD 4400 GPU compared only reached 3,800 points. The graphics score improvement seen here is nice but it’s not going to allow these low-power processors to break through into true PC gaming. 

The ASUS UX303 will come with the new Core i7 5500U (Broadwell-U) processor.

The ASUS UX303 will come with the new Core i7 5500U (Broadwell-U) processor as tested by Dave Bennet on YouTube.

In just a few days we’re going to get more information if the CES build-up teasers are anything to go by. A principle engineer at Intel and closely connected with performance testing on this platform teases us..

His tweets are personal but I know there’s going to be some private testing going on for invited journalists and bloggers in Las Vegas. Expect official intel figures to reach the public on the 6th Jan and for sneaky hands-on testing on the showfloor with pre-release models after that.

 

We’re watching CES closely for Ultrabook references. We’re not expecting much direct Ultrabook news as that marketing gig has finished for now but references might be made and of course, you’re going to see a number of products coming into the sector even if they’re not being called Ultrabooks. In terms of Core M coverage, that will be a UMPCPortal, our sister site focusing on ultra-mobile PCs.

Hat-tip: Sweclockers.

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Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro (Core M) performance tests reveal throttling, fan noise! http://ultrabooknews.com/2014/10/16/lenovo-yoga-3-pro-core-m-performance-tests-reveal-throttling-fan-noise/ http://ultrabooknews.com/2014/10/16/lenovo-yoga-3-pro-core-m-performance-tests-reveal-throttling-fan-noise/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 10:34:55 +0000 http://ultrabooknews.com/?p=11816 lenovo-laptop-convertible-yoga-3-pro-silver-laptop-mode-3

The Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro launched last week and has been handled by enough people now for us to get an idea of the performance of the Core M platform and the quality of the product. It’s the worlds-thinnest 2-in-1 and weighs just 1.19 KG which, for a 13.3-inch convertible is quite impressive. Lenovo have squeezed in a reasonably sized battery and there are a few other highlight features too.

  • Worlds thinnest 2-in-1 at 1.19 KG.
  • 13.3-inch tablet at 1.19 KG.
  • 813 pieces in new hinge design.
  • QHD+ (3200 x 1800) 10-point multitouch screen.
  • AC Wi-Fi.
  • DC-in with USB function combined on one port. (2 other USB ports available too.)
  • JBL speakers and Waves Audio hardware. [Waves audio is implemented in hardware on the new audio subsystem.]
  • 44.8 Wh battery.
  • 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM on base model .
  • Core M 5Y70 supports VPro and higher Turbo/base clock speed.

Lenovo have used a Core M SoC inside the Yoga 3 which reduces mainboard size and thermal space requirements. It allows them to make this 2-in-1 incredibly thin for a touchscreen convertible. A new hinge mechanism, made from hundreds of watchband-like components, helps keep the dimensions down. It looks somewhat ‘blingy’ and one must also question the durability of 851 separate components working together as a single hinge.

I’ve been in touch with Mobilegeeks.de who are testing the Yoga 3 Pro now and have written up their first impressions (in German) I wanted to find out more about the fan. Yes, a fan is included with the Yoga 3 Pro. In some respects that will be a good thing as it increases the thermal ‘space’ for Turbo Boost to work. Over 50% of the CPU performance of Core M relies on their being enough scope for heating up as it overclocks. If the temperature is already too high or rises too quickly, Tube Boost can turn off and you’re left with a 1.1Ghz CPU which  has nothing like the power of the previous Yoga 2 Pro.

In this Core M SoC 60% of the CPU performance is dependent on Turbo Boost which, in turn, is dependent on thermal headroom. If the device is hot, Turbo Boost may not be able to offer the full 2Ghz performance. Expect a wide range of CPU performance figures for Core M tablets and 2-in-1’s. (Source)

Roland, the reviewer over at Mobilegeeks, points me to a forum thread on Notebookreview where there are benchmarks and evidence of throttling in tablet mode and in multi-threaded CPU tests. This confirms my worry about Core M. Intel can show nice high-speed tests in optimized casings but it’s up to the manufacturer to create the balance between size and performance. Having said that it’s disappointing that even with a fan and the high-end Core M 5Y70 the Yoga 3 Pro is not performing like and Ultrabook.  In the Mobilegeek Cinebench 11.5 multi-cpu test the Yoga 3 Pro scored just 2.08 which is less than the Lenovo Yoga 11S with the Core i7 Y-series from last year and less than the original Lenovo Yoga 13. This is not a good test result. Here’s the performance figure slotted into our Ultrabook performance table.  Note that the cheaper Surface Pro 3 wih Core i5 U-series is going to bring you nearly 50% more CPU power.

 

CInebench Multi CPU Yoga Pro 3

Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro Cinebench 11.5 multi-CPU test result. (Result by Mobilegeeks.de)

The Mobilegeeks first impressions review is here. (translated) and you’ll find positive comments about the keyboard and build, the screen and the weight. There are also positive comments about battery life which can go up to 9 hours in video playback mode but there are definitely issues to consider here.

Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro Issues summary

  • Time will tell if the hinge is strong enough.
  • Hi-DPI screen not supported by some desktop apps.
  • High entry-level price.
  • Performance less than Yoga 2 Pro
  • No function key row.
  • Not fanless.

This is a bad start for Core M and if we see this confirmed on other devices we’ll be moving coverage of the Core M products from Ultrabooknews.com to our ultra-mobile focused sister site UMPCPortal.com

Thanks to Roland for answering our questions. Here’s his unboxing video…

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Core-M based ASUS Zenbook UX305 to cost $799 http://ultrabooknews.com/2014/09/30/core-m-based-asus-zenbook-ux305-to-cost-799/ http://ultrabooknews.com/2014/09/30/core-m-based-asus-zenbook-ux305-to-cost-799/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 10:48:57 +0000 http://ultrabooknews.com/?p=11801 The beautiful ASUS Zenbook Z305, powered with the new Intel Core M CPU, will launch at €799 according to NotebookItalia. This 1.2KG Ultrabook with a 2K display, 4GB RAM and a 128GB SSD should be available in December.

ASUS UX305

ASUS UX305

We always though that ASUS would break into a new price point with this superlight but 799 euro (which is likely to translate to $799 pre-tax in the USA) is better than we expected.

The Core M 5Y10a CoC inside has an 800Mhz base clockrate but can automatically overclock (Turbo Boost) to 2.0Ghz given the right conditions. We’ve seen it in test though and based on those tests we can’t say that the UX305 is going to out-perform any existing Haswell Ultrabook based on the U-Series processor. It will, however, provide a huge boost over what we’ve seen on Haswell Y-series Ultrabooks and 2-in-1’s like the Lenovo Yoga 11S. It’s fanless and has space inside for a 45Wh battery which should get you 10-hours of video watching. 6 hours of web-working should be possible too.

I’ve written about Core M and up-coming products here.

For 799-Euro you can get a more powerful Windows laptop but will it be 1.2KG in weight, have a 2K screen and be fanless? No.

The ASUS Zenbook UX305 will also be available with 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD.

Have a look at the ASUS Zenbook UX305 in the hands-on video made at IFA earlier this month.


Source: Notebookitalia

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Intel Core M Overview, benchmarks and product Previews. http://ultrabooknews.com/2014/09/14/intel-core-m-overview-benchmarks-and-product-previews/ http://ultrabooknews.com/2014/09/14/intel-core-m-overview-benchmarks-and-product-previews/#comments Sun, 14 Sep 2014 17:30:50 +0000 http://ultrabooknews.com/?p=11772 Core M die

The Intel Core M processor, officially launched last week, offers Ultrabook performance in a processing unit that’s about half the size of the current CPUs found in Ultrabooks with a 6W TDP profile. What does that mean? I’ve seen it benchmarked to Ultrabook performance levels on an 680gram fanless tablet. It works!

Rather than offering something that will compete with Ultrabook-style processors though it opens up a new area of fast processing and graphics performance for new types of computing devices. Fanless set top boxes, tablets, thin 2-in-1’s and extremely mobile laptops. At IFA and IDF over the last two weeks I got a good idea of where it sits, what it can do and got a sneak peek at some benchmarks and some of the products.

Wistron Core M

If you remember Lenovo 11S foldable 2-in-1 you’ll have an idea of where Core M fits. The original 11S ran on a ‘Y-series’ Ivy Bridge CPU that introduced the idea of ‘scenario design power.’ SDP was very much smoke, mirrors and a useless metric for consumers but it was the first step towards Core M. The Haswell variant brought some great battery life and a few early fanless 2-in-1s. Core M takes that idea and wraps it in fresh marketing. The improvements over the last generation ‘Haswell’ variant are potentially quite large with around 50% performance improvements in CPU and GPU and a new audio codec that takes load off the CPU and improves battery life for video playback. I say ‘potentially’ because getting the best performance out of Core M relies on good system design. Casings need to be high-grade machined die-cast aluminum to have a chance of pulling the best out of Core M. Pressed aluminum cases may only support lower-power configurations of the new 5Y10 Core M CPU.

thin die cast

 

Intel’s Core M 5Y series (5th generation Core, Y-series) is currently available in three versions at 4.5W TDP.  The high-end 5Y70 version comes in with the highest, 2.6Ghz Turbo clockrate which will offer short-term CPU performance similar to that of Haswell Ultrabooks. This VPro-enabled Core M is not likely to appear in consumer products though so you’ll have to consider the 5Y10 which has a base clockrate of 800Mhz and a Turbo Boost clockrate of 2.0Ghz.  In this Core M SoC 60% of the CPU performance is dependent on Turbo Boost which, in turn, is dependent on thermal headroom. If the device is hot, Turbo Boost may not be able to offer the full 2Ghz performance. Expect a wide range of CPU performance figures for Core M tablets and 2-in-1’s.

The GPU design has changed slightly in Core M. There are now 24 execution units which, were told by Intel, can offer up to HD4400 levels of graphics power. Again, there’s potential for Ultrabook levels of performance, if the thermal characteristics allow it. The naming of the graphics unit is a little confusing. The HD5300 is not an Intel Iris GPU (HD5100 and HD5200 are!)

Core M HD 5300

core M additional

A new Intel Smart Sound audio subsystem provides hardware decoding of hardware and supports either DTS or Wavelabs sound enhancement and virtualization processing algorithms in hardware. Dolby processing could be coming soon. Wireless Display 5.0 adds a few small improvements over WiDi 4.0, there’s talk of WiGig wireless docking and AC-7625 WiFi support (which won’t be exclusive to Core M products of course) and of course that VPro option that was mentioned above.

Core M performance testing

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In an Intel-guided performance testing session at IDF we were given a peek at the maximum performance of the Core M CPU configured as a 6W TDP part. (Note that products are currently launching with a 4.5 TDP configured part.) Intel also explained the importance of casing design and showed us a pressed aluminum case that could handle the 4.5 TDP configuration, a machined aluminum back casing that could handle a 6W TDP part and an interesting copper casing that could handle up to 12W TDP.

The Intel Core M 5Yxx in the Llama Mountain reference design with machined aluminum rear casing was configured for 6W TDP (I am assuming that this changes the Turbo Boost algorithm for longer periods at higher clockrate as the maximum clockrate is the same 2.6Ghz as on the 4.5 W TDP VPro-enabled part) and we saw the following results…

 

 

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Llama Mountain with Core M: Cinebench 11.5 multi CPU: 2.65. (20% better than Core i7 Ivy Bridge Y-Series on Lenovo Yoga 11S)

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Llama mountain with Core M: Ice Storm Extreme score:  48230

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Llama Mountain with Core M: Sunspider (Single thread on IE11) 119ms

 

The Core M SoC provides the capability to vastly improve the CPU, GPU and A/V decoding and encoding performance over the 4th-generation Core Y-Series SoCs but the key take-away is that a lot of that performance relies on good thermal design. While raw Core M performance figures might be a good guideline it’s the per-product Core M performance figures that will be more important. The first of those products will be coming soon but in a quick test on the Lenovo Helix 2 under battery power I saw locked-down performance. Under mains power I saw much better performance.

 

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Core M designs coming soon.

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On the image above: Acer Aspire Switch 12, ASUS Transformer Book T300FA, HP Envy x2, ASUS Transformer T300 Chi, Lenovo Thinkpad Helix 2, ASUS Zenbook UX305, Wistron N-Midas.

We saw the ASUS Zenbook UX305 at IFA. It’s slick, fanless and designed like a next-gen Ultrabook. There’s a 45Wh battery inside and it weighs just 1.2KG which is great for a 13.3-inch laptop with that battery size.

The Lenovo Helix 2 is another Core M product we had hands-on with. The hands-on video is coming as soon.

The Asus Transformer Book T300 Chi is a showcase for Core M with its 680 gram tablet…

The HP Envy X2 is a different kind of 2-in-1…

I didn’t quite get hands-on with the Acer Swtich 12, but Nicole from Mobilegeeks did….

As for the rest we’ll probably have to wait until they launch for more details but we’re hoping to get the first Core M product in for testing soon. The only problem we have until then is whether to cover them here at Ultrabooknews or over at our sister site, UMPCPortal.

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Ultrabook, Ultra Mobile or Ultra Dynamic?

Core M, in this generation, defines a category of devices that span consumer tablet to Ultrabook with enough performance to satisfy customers who need the best of consumption along with a pro-sumer level of content creation capability. It’s the third generation of Y-series processors and if combined with well designed products can finally allow Core to provide a quality fanless experience. Core M is a highly dynamic CPU ranging from Connected Standby to desktop gaming although it’s important to note that much of Core M’s performance relies on it having breathing space. The future will bring improvements and now that Y-series has a marketing budget we expect to see that happen in a very public way. 5-8 devices are expected to launch in Q4 2014, CES is likely to bring more so stay tuned both here and at UMPCPortal.

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Toshiba Satellite Click 2 Pro Hands-On Video http://ultrabooknews.com/2014/09/03/toshiba-satellite-click-2-pro-hands-on-video/ http://ultrabooknews.com/2014/09/03/toshiba-satellite-click-2-pro-hands-on-video/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2014 15:50:57 +0000 http://ultrabooknews.com/?p=11746 satellite-click2pro-P35W-B3220-600-02

Here’s a really nice looking 2-in-1 Ultrbook that, unfortunately, weighs nearly 2KG when docked together. A 13.3-inch Full HD screen tablet running a Core CPU in under 1KG isn’t too bad though and there are options here for hard drives and additional batteries in the base unit. The design is good because it incorporates a rear extension that not only houses the ports but keeps the whole unit stable when the screen is tilted. The Full HD screen is really nice.

RAM options go up to 8GB and SSD options up to 256GB so there’s potential for some heavy workloads and big files. Maybe this is one for mobile photographers.

This isn’t a new 2-in-1 so you’ll find some reviews out there if you’re interested.

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