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June 3, 2014

Intel Unleashes New Unlocked Core, Pentium Processors

Intel Core i7 4790K and Core i5 4690K/Credit: Intel

Intel this week unleashed a pair of new unlocked fourth-generation Core desktop chips code named Devil's Canyon, as well as a new unlocked Pentium processor.

The quad-core Intel Core i7 4790K has eight computing threads and a base clock speed of 4.0GHz which can be throttled up to 4.4GHz in Turbo mode. It has Intel HD 4600 graphics clocking at 1250MHz, 8MB of cache, supports two channels of DDR3-1600 memory, and draws 88 watts.

The quad-core Intel Core i5 4690K has four computing threads and a 3.5GHz base clock, which hits 3.9GHz in Turbo mode. This chip is also packing Intel HD 4600 graphics at a slightly lower frequency, 1200MHz. Also drawing 88W and supporting two channels of DDR3-1600 memory, the Core i5 4690K has 6MB of cache.



May 7, 2014

Intel, Google Showcase Next Wave of Chromebooks

Intel and Google on Tuesday joined several partners in launching a variety of new Chromebooks and Chrome-based desktop systems powered by 4th-Generation Core i3 and "Bay Trail M"-class Celeron mobile processors, as well as entry-level Haswell-class desktop chips.

Acer, Asus, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, LG Electronics, and Toshiba joined Intel and Google at a press event in San Francisco to introduce their next-generation Chrome OS-based laptops and other Chrome products, including several fanless Chromebooks sporting the new Celeron processors and promising up to 11 hours of battery life.

Google, meanwhile, announced a new Chrome app called Play Movies which will let Chrome OS users watch movies and TV shows available through Google Play offline as well as online. Play Movies will be released in "a few weeks," said Caesar Sengupta, vice president of product management at Google. The Internet giant will also be adding Google Now support and voice-based functionality to its Chrome operating system in the coming days, he said.

"We have been involved with Google from Day One with Chrome OS," said Navin Shenoy, vice president and general manager of Intel's mobile computing group. "We are now in our fifth generation of Chrome devices and our processors remain the only ones to support the 64-bit version of Chrome OS. We have a great working relationship with Google and we will continue to invest in Chrome OS."

Shenoy said new Bay Trail M-based Chromebooks from Asus represent the first fanless Chromebook designs and the first to provide such lengthy battery life between charges. Built on Intel's latest low-power Celeron SoCs, the Asus C200 Chromebook and C300 Chromebook are both priced at $249 and will be available for purchase in June.

The C200 sports an 11.6-inch screen and the C300 has a 13.3-inch display, but otherwise the specs are the same for these two new Asus Chromebooks—each has 16GB of internal storage and 2GB of system memory, and promises up to 11 hours of battery life.

Another new Chromebook using Bay Trail M-class Celerons is Acer's Hugo Chromebook, featuring an 11.6-inch display and priced at $229.

Lenovo's new N20p and N20 Chromebooks also have the latest Celeron chips under the hood and offer up to eight hours of battery life. The N20p has an 11.6-inch multi-touch display and is priced at $329, while the N20, priced at $279, also has an 11.6-inch screen but it's not touch-enabled. Another difference between the two Chromebooks is the N20p's 300-degree hinge allowing for multimode usage, whereas the N20 comes with a standard, clamshell hinge.

Both of Lenovo's new Chromebooks come standard with 16GB of internal storage and 2GB of system memory, but there's an option to upgrade to 4GB of RAM. The N20p and N20 are just 0.7 inches thick, weigh less than 3 pounds, and will be made available in August, Lenovo said. There's also an option to order either unit with Windows 8.1 instead of Chrome OS, but that will cost more, according to the company.

Additionally, Lenovo showcased an updated Thinkpad Yoga 11e Chromebook with both a touch interface and a multimode hinge that is being aimed at educational customers. Another company, CTL, is also nearing the release of an education-friendly, Bay Trail M Chromebook that's based on an Intel reference design featuring a pull-out carry handle and a swiveling camera that can't be pointed at the user or away.

Also on display at Tuesday's event were some existing Chromebooks that are getting processor upgrades. New versions of Dell's 11.6-inch Chromebook 11, the 11.6-inch Acer C720 Chromebook, and the 13.3-inch Toshiba Chromebook will have Intel's latest Core i3 mobile processors inside, adding more raw performance to Chrome OS-based laptops than ever before.

Meanwhile, Chrome OS is no longer limited to the laptop form factor, as Google's Sengupta noted.

"It's wonderful to see the support and momentum behind Chrome OS ... and today there are many more form factors available, from the Chromebook to the Chromebase to the Chromebox," he said, pointing to the Asus Chromebox as a trailblazer product.

"With Chromebooks, this whole experience is resonating very well with our customers," Sengupta said. "We're seeing that reflected in sales numbers. Seven of the top 10 best-selling laptops on Amazon are Chromebooks. The Chromebox from Asus has been the best-selling desktop since the day it was released."

LG Electronics Chromebase/Credit: LG

Asus will soon have company in the nascent Chromebox market with the coming arrival of Hewlett-Packard's own Chromebox. The compact desktop unit, code named Jagerbomb, sports an Intel Haswell chip, 16GB of storage and 2GB of memory, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and offers four USB ports, an SD slot, and HDMI and Display ports. HP's Chromebox, which doesn't have an official price tag yet, will be available in June or possibly sooner.

Finally, LG Electronics may have stolen the show with its very first "Chromebase," which is what the powers-that-be would like us to call Chrome OS-based all-in-one desktops. The LG Chromebase has the standard specs for a Chromebox—a Haswell processor, 16GB of storage and 2GB of RAM, plus a fair amount of I/O—but it's also got a 22-inch display built into a familiar all-in-one form factor. The Chromebase is priced at $349.99 and will be available on May 26, but pre-ordering can be done on Newegg.com starting on May 12, an LG rep said.

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January 19, 2014

Intel to Trim 5% of Workforce in 2014

Intel Avoton Package

A layoff at Intel? Not quite.

Or at least, that's how the company is attempting to spin its plans to cut roughly five percent of its workforce in 2014.

The news comes a day after the company announced a quarterly profit of $2.6 billion on revenue of $13.8 billion — both figures are up approximately three percent from the same time period last year, but the company's yearly profit of $9.6 billion was down 13 percent from 2013's figures. Its sales were down one percent to $52.7 billion, and Intel executives are predicting no growth (or loss) in 2014.

Intel's trimming – or whatever it happens to call the reduction in employee count – might not be as bad as it sounds. According to executives, Intel might just not elect to fill spots vacated by quitting or retiring workers. Approximately four percent of the company cycles each year, which seems a bit better than an arbitrary axing of a bit over 5,000 of the company's employees.

"It would be wrong to conclude this is a layoff," described Intel spokesman Chris Kraeuter in an interview with AFP.



January 7, 2014

Intel Ditching McAfee Brand for Security Products

McAfee Deep Defender

Intel is rebranding its McAfee security products as Intel Security going forward, the company revealed late on Monday during CEO Brian Krzanich's keynote presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show.

The transition away from the McAfee brand, rendered somewhat toxic in recent years due to the bizarre antics of company founder John McAfee, will play out over the next 12 months, according to Intel.

The chip giant acquired McAfee in 2010 for $7.68 billion and began integrating the computer security firm's technology into Intel hardware products while continuing to sell McAfee software solutions for PCs.

"For McAfee, the initial announcement is that as new products are introduced, the McAfee brand name will be phased out and branded Intel Security," an Intel spokesperson told PCMag on Tuesday. "The shield—which represents the core values of security and protection—will remain. The rebranding will begin immediately, but the transition will take up to a year before it is complete. McAfee will continue to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary."



November 23, 2013

HP, Intel Team Up On $89 Tablet for Black Friday

HP Mesquite 7 Tablet

Hewlett-Packard is set to start selling an $89, 7-inch Android tablet powered by an Intel processor, the chip giant revealed Friday.

HP's Mesquite tablet is one of several Intel-powered slates providing "lightning-fast Web browsing and extraordinary battery life" that will be available in time for Black Friday, Intel said in a blog post.

The Mesquite reportedly packs one of Intel's "Medfield"-class Atom processors and it will be available at Walmart when the holiday shopping season officially kicks off on Nov. 29.

Intel also listed several more Android- and Windows-based tablets being offered in Black Friday sales and promotions, all of which have Intel chips under the hood, naturally.

"Whether you're looking for a small 7-inch or 8-inch tablet or a larger 10-inch tablet running Android or Windows 8, there are lots of choices this holiday powered with Intel processors," Intel's Inside Scoop blogger Marcia Hansen wrote.

There's Dell's 8-inch Venue 8 tablet running Android, which can be had for $99 at Costco with the purchase of a PC priced at $599.99 or more. The Venue 8 is also available on Dell.com for $129.99, a $50 savings from its normal price.



October 22, 2013

Apple Revamps MacBook Pro Lineup With Haswell, More

Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (Retina Display)

Apple today boosted its MacBook Pro lineup with Intel's 4th-gen Haswell processors, as well as a few cosmetic updates.

The devices will start shipping today, pre-installed with Apple's new OS X Mavericks, which will be available to everyone else as a free upgrade.

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display will be thinner and lighter than its predecessor at 3.46 pounds and 0.71 inches thin. It should provide 9 hours of battery life, Apple's Phil Schiller said during a Tuesday press event.

The device includes PCIe-based flash storage, which is 60 percent faster, as well as 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Thunderbolt 2, which is 2x faster than Thunderbolt 1.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro will be priced at $1,299 with a 2.4-GHz dual-core i5, 4GB of DRAM, Iris graphics, and a 128GB SSD - a $200 discount.



September 3, 2013

Intel Unleashes Ivy Bridge-E Extreme Desktop Chips

Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge-E

If you've already transitioned to a post-PC world, just know that you'll be missing out on the most powerful, blazing fast, crank-it-up-to-11 desktop processor Intel has ever released.

The chip giant unveiled its first lineup of "Ivy Bridge-E" products on Tuesday, including the Core i7-4960X Extreme Edition processor, a six-core, 12-threaded monster with 15MB of L3 cache, four channels of DDR3-1866 memory support with an integrated memory controller, 40 lanes of PCIe 3.0 allowing for up to four discrete graphics cards, and a 3.6GHz base clock which revs up to 4.0GHz in Turbo mode.

The star of Intel's new Core i7 LGA-2011 HEDT processor family will be priced at $999, with two more unlocked, 22-nanometer Ivy Bridge-E chips joining it for a Sept. 10 release date. The other two processors being rolled out next Tuesday are the six-core Core i7 4930K (3.4GHz base clock/3.9Ghz Turbo, 12MB cache, $555) and quad-core Core i7 4820K (3.7GHz/3.9GHz, 10MB cache, $310).

Both of those CPUs also support four DIMMs of DDR3-1866 memory and feature Intel's Hyper-Threading and Smart Cache technologies.

Meanwhile, the power bill you'll rack up with any of Intel's latest, greatest Core i7 parts isn't small potatoes—the TDP for all three new processors is 130 watts. To keep those CPUs running smoothly, there are plenty of performance desktop cooling solutions on the market—Intel is naturally shilling its own sub-$100 Liquid Cooling TS13X system with both fan-circulated air and pump-circulated propylene glycol for the job.



June 11, 2013

Alienware Adds Haswell, Revs Design for Laptops

Alienware 14At E3 today, Alienware released its newly redesigned gaming laptop models, built around 14-inch, 17.3-inch, and 18.4-inch screens.

These systems all comes with fourth-generation Intel Core (codenamed Haswell) processors, and Nvida GeForce GT and GTX 700 Series graphics. While still undoubtedly Alienware laptops, the new systems are less chunky than Alienware's previous-generation gaming rigs. Surrounded by LED-fed light bars, the new systems glow in the dark. It's fitting that they play on the game grid, as these three new chassis would look right at home on the set of the next Tron film.

The Alienware 14 is the more portable model in the group. It has a 14-inch TN display with a 1,366-by-768 resolution standard and an upgrade path to a 14-inch 1,920-by-1,080-resolution IPS display. The Alienware 14 starts at just over six pounds, and can be equipped with a selection of Intel Core i7 processors, up to an Intel Core i7-4900MQ with Nvidia GeForce GTX 765M graphics. The base model isn't left out; it comes with an Intel Core i7-4700MQ processor and Nvidia GeForce GT 750M graphics.

The system can handle up to 16GB of memory and can be equipped with a selection of hard drives, SSDs, or combinations of both. Standard AlienFX lighting, Killer Ethernet NIC, an 802.11ac Wi-Fi option, and niceties like Klipsch branded audio round out the Alienware 14's feature set. It starts at $1,199.



June 5, 2013

Intel Lifts the Curtain on Thunderbolt 2

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Intel has an official name for the 20Gbs I/O controller code named Falcon Ridge, which the company has been teasing since April—Thunderbolt 2.

Okay, it's not the most original name but as Intel pointed out in a blog post this week, Thunderbolt has grown from its first implementation by Apple on its MacBook Pro laptops in 2011 to finding a place in more than 30 PCs and motherboards in the past year.

More than a dozen of those products are newly released PCs and 2-in-1 laptop-tablet hybrids powered by Intel's new fourth-generation Core processor formerly code named Haswell. There are also more than 80 peripheral devices supporting the current Thunderbolt interface and Intel said "more than 220 companies worldwide" are currently developing Thunderbolt-enabled products.

In short, Thunderbolt is a powerful brand these days. The next iteration of the technology will double the throughput of the current Thunderbolt interface by "combining the two previously independent 10Gbs channels into one 20Gbs bi-directional channel that supports data and/or display," Intel said.

That means Thunderbolt 2 will be capable of pushing through 4K video and display simultaneously—and "that's a lot of eye-popping video and data capability," the chip giant said.



June 4, 2013

Dell Refreshes Flagship XPS, Latitude, and OptiPlex Lineups

Dell XPSDell on Tuesday released pricing and specs for several new desktop PCs, all-in-ones, and laptops powered by fourth-generation Intel Core processors to refresh its flagship Latitude, OptiPlex, and XPS product lines.

The computer maker also introduced new printers and a new 21.5-inch touch-screen monitor at the Computex show in Taipei, Taiwan.

"We have taken outstanding products and made them even better with improved performance, sleek design, and state-of-the-art security and management capabilities. We're constantly listening to customers and improving our leading edge products based upon their input," Kirk Schell, vice president of Dell's PC Product Group, said in a statement. "Through enhanced components and engineering, we're providing customers with a great computing experience and helping them realize the efficiency and productivity benefits provided through improved performance."

Dell's XPS lineup now includes the XPS 27 touch-screen all-in-one, which features a 27-inch edge-to-edge glass display and starts at $1,599.99. The XPS 8700 desktop starts at $699.99, and the 12.5-inch XPS 12 hybrid laptop and tablet start at $1,199.99.

The XPS 27 all-in-one, with an Adobe RGB Quad HD display featuring 2,560-by-1,440 resolution, sports a dual-hinge articulating stand that swivels and folds down to serve in tablet-like fashion. It has six USB 3.0 ports and utilizes Intel's Thunderbolt I/O technology, includes options for Nvidia GeForce GT750M discrete graphics and up 2TB in internal storage, and is available today.

Dell said the XPS 8700, also available today, is its new flagship consumer desktop PC. It also sports six USB 3.0 ports and expansion HDD bays capable of supporting up to 4TB of storage. The XPS 12 will hit retail shelves "in the coming weeks," Dell said, also noting that the 3.35-pound hybrid laptop delivers up to 8 hours and 43 minutes of battery life and a 63 percent performance boost over its predecessor in the XPS stable.

The company also made its new 21.5-inch Touch Monitor S2240T with a standalone mount or wall-mounting capability available today.