Intel’s New ‘Haswell’ Processors: What You Need to Know

In case you haven’t heard, Intel’s new fourth-generation dual- and quad-core “Haswell” processors are going to change how computers of all sorts function in the future. Why? Because they draw a fraction of the power and offer twice the graphics performance of their predecessors.

Intel has been showing off devices running the new Haswell chips at the Computex trade show in Taiwan. One of the more exciting products using the chip is a “2-in-1” ultrabook that basically blends the convenience and familiarity of a really light laptop with the portability of a tablet computer. In effect, the touchscreen display simply separates from the keyboard.

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Now, that kind of thing has been done before — after all, you can purchase a keyboard for most tablet computers. But unlike the Apple iPad or Microsoft Surface, these 2-in-1s will feature the kind of power you would see in a full-blown, 14- or 15.6-inch laptop computer. That means you could play newer, demanding games and watch movies as if you were hunched over a much larger device.
And yet, you won’t be sacrificing portability because devices running Haswell chips will double the battery life of most tablet and laptop computers on the market right now.

The problem, as you might expect, will be price. Right now Haswell chips are anything but cheap, meaning devices using them will be far too expensive for the average consumer.

That’s why it may be worth waiting to purchase your next laptop, desktop, or even tablet PC. It’s likely that most devices will be using these chips in six to 12 months’ time, and that improved production processes will bring down their overall cost to the end user sometime next year.

Overall, then, just know this: Haswell chips are a big, big deal and worth holding off your next PC purchase for at least a few months — if possible.

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