Buying a new laptop? Wait a few more days!


The new era for laptops would start in the Fall of 2015. At least, that is what I was hoping when I postponed the purchase of my next laptop. Why did I have such high expectations you may think? It’s because both Windows 10 and Skylake will be released. Skylake is not a new James Bond movie, it’s Intel’s 6th generation Core processor microarchitecture. In my head this would be the perfect timing for all the big companies to introduce their new models.

It seems like it was worth the wait, as the fireworks have already started. Microsoft revealed their first laptop, the Surface Book (https://informationstrategyrsm.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/the-ultimate-laptop-microsoft-surface-book/) during their event on October 6, as well as the Surface Pro 4, the successor of the very successful Surface Pro 3.

So why wait a few more days? Because many laptop companies will launch their new Windows 10-based devices in the upcoming weeks. After all, you don’t want to buy a new laptop and then see it become outdated in a matter of weeks. Microsoft offered a schedule for when and where these third-party announcements will take place:

  • October 7, we’ll take the stage with HP in Barcelona
  • October 8, we’ll be in New York City with Dell
  • October 9, we’ll be in San Francisco, with ASUS
  • October 12, we’ll be in Taipei with Acer
  • October 13, we’ll be in Tokyo with Toshiba
  • October 19 we’ll be back in San Francisco with Lenovo

skylake-vs-broadwell_thumb800One could argue that for those with high expectations, the desktop version of the Skylake processor series was a slight dissapointment. It offered only a five to ten percent performance increase over it’s predecessor, the Haswell CPU. However, the area in which the new Skylake structure shines is far more interesting for laptop users: power consumption and efficiency. With a Skylake processor your laptop will last longer. Also, the chips are smaller and the internal graphics card is improved.

spectre

In case I’ve just convinced you of the advantages of Skylake, let’s take a look at the new laptop models announced and quickly discuss their unique selling points. The first one on the list is HP. HP has just announced 2 new models. The Spectre x2 and the Envy laptop. The Spectre x2 is a tablet in combination with a keyboard. It is very similar to Microsoft’s Surface Pro. In short, it is a convertible with a 12’’ screen and a 1920×1280 pixels resolution. It is very light with 0,84 kilo without- and 1.24 kilos with keyboard and will contain an Intel core M Skylake processor. The Envy laptop is a 13’’ laptop, which is claimed to be the slimmest laptop the company has ever built. HP will also revamp its popular Spectre x360 with new Skylake processors.

Dell is not lacking behind. The company has just updated its full XPS line. The XPS 15 now comes with Dell’s patented Infinity edge screen. This means that while the screen is 15,6’’, the laptop will only be 14’’, due to the small bezels. This laptop however is not available for those on a student budget, as it starts at €1479 (including taxes). The very popular XPS13 now comes with a Skylake processor and different RAM and memory possibilities. Last but not least, Dell introduced a 12’’ XPS convertible. You can even configure this model with a 4k touchscreen. Personally I do not see the benefit in that, as many applications do not support 4k yet and one wil therefore experience scaling issues too often. Besides, it is debatable whether a 12’’ screen is big enough to warrant a 4k resolution.

tweets-xps-15_550x300

I plan to update this blog when Acer, Asus, Toshiba and Lenovo announce their new models. For now, I’m also quite intrigued by the recently announced Microsoft Surface Book, however that one will not be released in Europa for the next 6 months, For the Apple users out there, I’m afraid you’re also going to have to wait a bit longer to enjoy Skylake. Apple has updated it’s Macbooks not too long ago.

I don’t think it’s worth it to upgrade to a Skylake model if you have a fairly recent laptop, just for the sake of Skylake. Do you plan to upgrade? And if so, share your train of thoughts here!

References:

Crijns, K. (2015). Intel Skylake architectuur review: Intels 6de generatie Core CPU’s | Hardware.Info Nederland. [online] Nl.hardware.info. Available at: http://nl.hardware.info/reviews/6242/intel-skylake-architectuur-review-intels-6de-generatie-core-cpus [Accessed 9 Oct. 2015].

Tweakers, (2015). Dell geeft XPS 15-laptop een update met dunne schermranden en uhd-resolutie. [online] Available at: http://tweakers.net/nieuws/105685/dell-geeft-xps-15-laptop-een-update-met-dunne-schermranden-en-uhd-resolutie.html [Accessed 9 Oct. 2015].

Tweakers, (2015). HP brengt Spectre x2-convertible en 12,9mm dunne Envy-laptop uit. [online] Available at: http://tweakers.net/nieuws/105668/hp-brengt-spectre-x2-convertible-en-12-komma-9mm-dunne-envy-laptop-uit.html [Accessed 9 Oct. 2015].

Ung, G. and Ung, G. (2015). Intel Skylake CPU details revealed: These faster, more power-efficient chips can even drive three 4K monitors. [online] PCWorld. Available at: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2972823/components-processors/intel-skylake-laptop-cpus-should-use-less-power-run-faster-and-can-even-drive-three-4k-monitors.html [Accessed 9 Oct. 2015

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2 responses to “Buying a new laptop? Wait a few more days!”

  1. 441485dg says :

    Thank you for the informative outline of the current buying a new laptop debate. What I think is interesting from your article is about Intel’s new processor. About Skyline I think we have to start reconsidering Moore’s law of roughly doubling the number of transistors in its processors every two years. The last technology transitions show that Intel’s speed is closer to 2.5 years. Just recently Intel announced that it is pushing its 10 nanometer chip-making process to 2017, where is could possibly reach its limit on what can be done with silicon and require the use of different materials.

    As for Win10, I would personally not make a purchasing decision dependent on OS Win10, since most users benefit more to update to the newest OS once all the major bugs have been fixed. Of course some want to be early adopters to try out different new feature. However as for me I don’t want to be Microsoft’s guinea pig and rather wait as a late adopter. After all Win10 is still a work-in-process.

  2. 359775rs says :

    You make a good point on Moore’s law. It becomes more difficult for Intel to comply with it. For the last decade, Intel has released new processors on a yearly basis, in accordance with its Tick-Tock sequence: one year (the tick) sees a process shrink to smaller transistors and better efficiency, the next year (tock) ushers in a brand new microarchitecture. One of the main reasons why expectations were particularly high for Skylake is the fact that Skylake was supposed to be the ”tock”, or in other words, built with a new architecture. The upside is that for our personal needs, processors are already more than quick enough.

    I agree with you when it comes to Win10, it is definitely not a reason to upgrade to a new laptop, especially since you can already upgrade to Win10 for free if you have a valid Win 7 or Win8 license. It’s mostly interesting because companies release their new fancy models due to the combined Win10&Skylake release.

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