The next chapter in the ultrabook saga: 'Haswell'

Intel's future Haswell chip was a hot topic this week -- behind closed doors in Asia, that is.

Acer's first-generation Windows 8 touch-screen ultrabook. The second generation will likely feature Haswell chips.
Acer's first-generation Windows 8 touch-screen ultrabook. The second generation will likely feature Haswell chips. CNET Asia

Ultrabooks are currently limping along on Windows 7, but Windows 8 and "Haswell" should put some spring in their step.

While Windows 8 is obviously a hot topic, less is being said about Haswell, Intel's next chip design that will underwrite the third stage of ultrabooks .

That's because Intel hasn't been talking about Haswell, except on the QT in NDA sessions in Asia this week.

Haswell is probably the first mainstream PC-class chip from Intel designed with really thin, small PCs in mind from the get-go. It will also probably pack a mean graphics punch (i.e., bigger performance uptick than usual).

But not a whole lot more is known about the new microarchitecture.

Until Haswell arrives, the first generation of Windows 8 touch-screen ultrabooks from companies like Acer and Lenovo will use Ivy Bridge processors. But the real deal (that is, more affordable touch-screen models) won't land until 2013 with Haswell.

And note that Microsoft won't bring out its Intel-based Windows Pro tablet until the end of January (or thereabouts). Is it waiting for Haswell? Either way, Haswell would make for a solid second-generation Surface Pro tablet.

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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