Intel Broadwell Windows PCs Invade CES

Intel's 14nm chips arrive in Lenovo's latest business-flavored ThinkPad ultrabook and new convertible notebooks from Acer.

Windows PCs

Pixel-packed 4K displays, the Internet of things for the home and the latest crop of wearables are vying for attention at this year's International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), now under way in Las Vegas. Also on deck are new devices powered by Microsoft's Windows operating system and Intel's newest processors.

Among them is Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon, a svelte Windows notebook, which the company is billing as "the world's lightest 14-inch performance ultrabook." ThinkPad X1 Carbon arrives just as Lenovo celebrates a big milestone, according to CEO Yang Yuanqing.

"Since the original ThinkPad 700, ThinkPad engineers have continued to drive innovation by making each new ThinkPad better than the last. Reaching 100 million units sold proves they are succeeding," said Yang in a statement.

Lenovo acquired the business-friendly ThinkPad brand when it snapped up IBM's PC business in late 2005 for $1.75 billion. Times have changed, but Lenovo's focus on the storied brand continues, Yang said.

"Now, even as Lenovo expands into mobile devices, servers, and ecosystem and cloud computing, ThinkPad will remain at the core of our strategy and the heart of our business," he assured.

ThinkPad X1 Carbon weighs less than 2.9 pounds and features fifth-generation Intel Core processors (code-named Broadwell). The 14-nanometer (nm) chips, also officially launched at CES, contain 35 percent more transistors than their predecessors (Haswell) despite a 37 percent smaller die size. Server-inspired, PCIe-based storage enables the notebook to deliver 80 percent improved storage performance compared with standard solid-state drives (SSDs), according to the company.

Acer, meanwhile, is showing off new Broadwell-powered Windows devices of its own.

The new Acer Aspire R 13 is a convertible notebook with a dual-hinge design called Ezel Aero that allows the 13.3-inch touch display to flip 180 degrees. The all-aluminum Aspire S7 Ultrabook is just over a half-inch thick and features a touch-screen that can enable the laptop to fold open like a book.

HP, meanwhile, is looking to shrink the home PC with the new Pavilion Mini and Stream Mini Windows 8.1 desktops.

At just over two inches tall and fitting comfortably in the palm of one's hand, the Pavilion Mini can be outfitted with an Intel Core i3 (Haswell) processor and up to 8GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. Prices start at $319 when the pint-sized desktop goes on sale in mid-January.

The similarly compact HP Stream Mini Desktop, also available later this month, includes an Intel Celeron processor, 2GB of RAM, a 32GB SSD and 200GB of Microsoft OneDrive Storage for two years for $179.99.

Describing the tower PC as "a focal point in the home for sharing, creating, and entertaining," Mike Nash, vice president of product management for HP Consumer Personal Systems, feels that those capabilities shouldn't come at the expense of valuable desktop real estate. "The HP Pavilion and HP Stream Mini Desktops deliver the benefits of a traditional desktop PC in a package that looks good sitting on a desk and is small enough to fit into an entertainment center," said Nash in a statement.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...