Intel says there are over 500 million computers in use today that are at least 5 years old, frustrating users with slow wake-up times, the inability to wander away from a wall socket for very long and sluggish overall performance. Today at IFA 2015 in Berlin, the company introduced its new 6th generation Core and Xeon processor families that promise 2.5x faster performance over what was available 5 years ago, 30x better graphics and 3x the battery life.
The 50 or so new Core M, Core i, Xeon, Pentium and Celeron processors to be launched in the coming weeks and months will be at the heart of a host of devices from OEMs such as Asus, Lenovo, Acer and Dell, including 2-in1 notebook/tablet hybrids packing Core-Y and Core-U processors, big screen All-in-One Core-S desktop computers, Core-H gaming notebooks and high-end Xeon mobile workstations.
Highlights on show at this morning's press conference included a Core M Compute Stick that can turn any HDMI display into a full-fat computer, a US$699 Surface Pro killer known as the IdeaPad Miix 700 Windows 10 2-in1 from Lenovo that will be available with Intel's RealSense camera technology as an option, and a demonstration of future wireless charging based on magnetic resonance technology.
RealSense R200 camera integration could also benefit the gaming community, with a demo showing the ability to scan a user and place a lifelike 3D avatar in the game itself or make use of the sensors to track a player's movement around a space and translate this to movement in an immersive gaming environment.
Elsewhere gamers can look forward to 500 Series graphics delivering a 40 percent improvements in performance (over the previous generation processors), built-in high resolution game recording, DirectX 12 support and unlocked "K" SKU gaming notebooks for more user control over available performance.
Kirk Skaugen, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Intel's Client Computing Group, also presented a high-end 2.5 kg laptop-like/mobile Xeon workstation as an example of one of the upcoming 6th gen Core family products to feature Thunderbolt 3 for USB-C, which promises eight times the data transfer speeds of USB 3.0 (up to 40 Gbps), as well as catering for the supply of power to connected devices, and being able to handle 4K visuals.
Intel has been working closely with Microsoft for Windows 10 optimization of the 6th gen Core chips, resulting in reported fast wake up times of 300 - 500 ms from Modern Standby mode and password-free login courtesy of Windows Hello. To demonstrate the effectiveness of the latter, the RealSense camera was able to distinguish between the faces of two identical twins to allow one to log in, and keep the other locked out.
Over the next few months, manufacturers will also introduce over 25 Internet of Things products based around the 6th gen Core platform, though we'll have to wait to see exactly what those devices will be.
Intel is also looking forward to a computing future that involves little or no cable spaghetti. In addition to showing machines able to wirelessly connect with 4K displays thanks to WiGig's near gigabit transfer speeds, the company also announced magnetic resonance wireless charging technology that's due to land by the end of 2016. This will cater for power transfer through materials such as wood up to 50 mm thick, and also allow mobile devices to be moved around within the charging zone without risk of dropping out.
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