(Updated 11 pm PT June 3 with additional PCs and Intel processor specs)
The time has come for PC manufacturers to start unveiling new hardware in association with Intel's forthcoming fourth-gen Core i-series "Haswell" processors, and some are doing it earlier than others.
Acer, recently busy with its "Star Trek"-inspired Windows 8 tablet, a second slim S3 ultrabook to accompany the also-updated S7, and a refreshed Aspire Z3 all-in-one desktop PC. Some of them feature Intel's newest fourth-gen "Haswell" processors. Here's the brief news on each.unveiling, has announced even more PC products: a new 8-inch
The Acer Iconia W3 (picture above), outed via leaks over the last couple of months, makes its official debut. It's billed as the first 8-inch Windows 8 tablet, and bears a passing resemblance to the recently announced 7.9-inch Android tablet. It weighs 1.1 pounds and is 0.45-inch thick. Running off a current-gen Intel Atom Z2760 processor (Intel's next-gen Bay Trail Atom CPUs won't be available until later this year), the $379 tablet runs full Windows 8 and has a 1,280x800-pixel screen, 32GB or 64GB of SSD storage, 2-megapixel front and rear cameras, Micro-HDMI and Micro-USB ports, and a microSD card slot that supports up to 32GB at a time.
Acer's clearly angling for productivity on a shoestring -- the Iconia W3 comes with Microsoft Office preinstalled, and one of the press pics shows the W3 docked with an optional full-size Bluetooth keyboard. The W3 is available for pre-order in the U.S. starting June 4.
The Acer Aspire S3-392 ultrabook (above) borrows from the design of the superslimreleased last year. Like the S7, it's also a 13.3-inch 1080p ultrabook, but goes more workhorse with Nvidia GeForce GT735M graphics and a larger non-SSD 1TB hard-drive option. U.S. availability or pricing hasn't been announced, but the S3 does have the latest fourth-gen Intel Core i-series Haswell CPUs (specific models unspecified).
Just like the S7, its display bends back 180 degrees -- but, instead of a Gorilla Glass back, the S3 is all aluminum. It's a bit heavier and thicker than the Aspire S7, at 1.65 kg (3.6 pounds) and 17.8 mm (0.7-inch). Other features include a fast sub-1-second wake-from-sleep mode.
The new Aspire S7-392 touch-screen ultrabook is also receiving a fourth-gen upgrade to newer Intel processors. Acer claims a 33 percent battery-life increase, thanks to new fourth-gen Core i5-4200U or Core i7-4500U processor options. The new S7 has 8GB of RAM and either a 128 or 256GB SSD. Other improvements including an optional 2,560x1,440-pixel-resolution display (same as on the Toshiba Kirabook and similar to the ) and a new "electroluminescent" backlit keyboard. The new Aspire S7-392 is still expensive, ranging from $1,399 to $1,699.
Acer also announced an update to its all-in-one desktop PC, the Aspire Z3. A 23-inch 1080p IPS display and built-in Harman Kardon speakers suggest a push for AV enthusiasts, or at least an attempt to keep pace in a competitive all-in-one PC market. It's not clear which Intel processors the new Z3s will have, but the Z3 should be available June 13.
Update, June 3: Now that Intel's second processor embargo has lifted, Acer has revealed additional details on other PCs getting new Haswell processor upgrades:
The 14-inch Acer Aspire V7-482PG-9884-U ultrabook has an Intel Core i7-4500U processor, Nvidia GeForce GT 750M graphics with 4GB video memory, 12GB of RAM, and a 1TB hard drive, and will be available as an Acer.com exclusive for $1,299.
The Acer Aspire V3-772G 17.3-inch gaming laptop has an Intel Core i7-4702MQ processor, Nvidia GeForce GTX 760M graphics, up to 12GB RAM, and a 1TB hard drive, starting at $999.
Finally, the Acer Predator AG3-605-UR20 desktop has a 3.4GHz Intel Core i7-4770 processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 660 graphics with up to 32GB RAM and a 3TB hard drive, starting at $1,499.99.
None of these products looks to redefine the already fragmented Windows 8 landscape, but a few should offer some welcome updates.