At CES, tablets go full-bore Core, get 'real' Intel processors

This spring, you can expect to see more tablets and "detachables" that opt for Intel's mainstream Core processors.

Acer and Lenovo are taking Intel's power-frugal Ivy Bridge chips and putting them in tablets and in ultrabooks that function as tablets.
Acer and Lenovo are taking Intel's power-frugal Ivy Bridge chips and putting them in tablets and in ultrabooks that function as tablets. CNET

LAS VEGAS--With Intel now pushing its mainstream processors into tablets and convertibles, some PC vendors are opting for high-performance designs that offer no-holds-barred performance.

Lenovo is delivering probably the best example. The PC maker announced the ThinkPad Helix at CES (see video below) which is built around Intel's low-power "Ivy Bridge" Core i5 and Core i7 chips.

Surprisingly, Lenovo's Helix doesn't skimp on battery life, offering a total of 10 hours when used in conjunction with its keyboard base.


So, why would Lenovo stick an ultrabook chip in a tablet? Intel's most power efficient chip, the Atom, just won't cut it when running a full suite of Windows applications. Atom is fine for running the Windows 8 Metro interface but can choke when multitasking demanding desktop applications.

Later this spring, Acer will bring out a "detachable" Aspire product than can function, like the ThinkPad Helix, as a standalone tablet. Inside will be Intel's newest power-sipping Ivy Bridge chip that can throttle down to 7 watts. By comparison, standard ultrabooks today use Ivy Bridge chips with more power-hungry 17-watt processors.

The Acer system should be a big step up from the current Iconia W510, which uses the lower-performance Atom chip.

"You're going to get a product versus the current Iconia system that's 20 percent thinner, 20 percent better weight, with full [Intel] Core performance," said Intel's Kirk Skaugen at the chipmaker's CES event on Monday.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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