Monday, 05 January 2015 15:01

Intel at CES 2015 is all about the right benchmark, NUC and WiDi

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CES 2015 Las Vegas, NV – Intel Suite
Today we met up with the Intel crew to see what they are bringing to the market in 2015. Unlike previous years where the “big” news was about big CPUs and processing power, this year was about getting more power in a smaller package and also finding ways to compare products across multiple platforms.

To kick off the meeting we were shown a pair of benchmarks that allow for more effective testing of different product types across multiple hardware and software platforms. This was BAPCO’s Tabletmark V3. This suite of tests include common usage models including cached web page rendering to show the performance of different tablets. The test can run on Windows and Android with a version for iOS coming very soon. Now, this is not meant for hardcore gaming or even heavy professional work, but it is intended to show you what you can expect from typical tablet workloads.

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After this we were shown a benchmark that is meant for ChromeOS. Typically we do not cover the Chromebooks, but they are becoming more popular simply due to their cost and the prevalence of Google as a productivity platform. The test is also hardware agnostic which makes it a good starting place.

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After we were treated to the display of the “right benchmarks to use” we moved to take a look at some rather impressive pieced of hardware that are actually on the market. One was a convertible notebook that weight in at only 740 grams. This tiny little product had a 1900x1200 touch screen and ran Windows 8.1 it was almost comically light, yet had things that you do not see in many larger ultrabooks including an Ethernet port and VGA port. One of the group commented “holy f*(king sh*t” when they held it in their hand.

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Another very cool demo was a 4k display showing off an image collection system. It was the same system that was used to demo Skultrail when it came out. This time the resolution was drastically higher and instead of a dual socket system it was all being run smoothly on a NUC.

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This led us into the next room where we saw the evolution of the NUC including a new model that is almost 1-inch in height and features a Broadwell CPU. We were told that this new model will hit the market in Core i5 and i3 flavors with a Core i7 version coming very soon. The Core i7 version will also feature Iris Pro graphic making it much more of a pro system in a tiny package. Intel is also going to allow some upgrade options for the NUC including third party NFC modules and even TV tuners. It is pretty impressive to see.

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That was not all though. After we were shown the NUC they whipped out a new form factor, the Intel Compute Stick. This was a small computer based on Broadwell that had 32GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, Wireless, Windows 8.1 with Bing, a microSD slot, and it should retail at about $149.99. This is not a bad option if you are looking for a small portable system that only needs a display. (it would also be amazing as an HTPC system).

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One other item that was not really part of the tour was an announcement that Intel’s WiDi can now stream 4k other the air. It was not a bad meeting at all. We hope to get our hands on one of the new NUCs so we can show you how well it performs in the real world. Moving forward we do still expect Intel to have a high-end line and they will not abandon the PC or the desktop, but we expect to see a shift in focus to the smaller form factors, wearables and other IoT devices. Even with that in mind there are some exciting things coming from Intel in 2015 even if they are not what we have come to expect from them.
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