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TECH | Get ready for a whole new world of whiz-bangery as the latest Windows laptops, tablets and 2-in-1's shift over to Intel's family of '6th Gen' Core processors.
Officially launched this week, the latest Core powerplants (previously codenamed Skylake) will trigger a wave of fresh and refreshed hardware to tap into the chip's manyfold capabilities.
Some of those are precisely what you'd expect from a 2015 processor which follows five other better-than-before iterations of the Core-branded line, such as increased performance and near all-day battery life – and those alone could be all it takes to upgrade from your current years-old laptop.
And depending on the number of years on that notebook's clock, you could be in for a dose of 'shock and awesome'.
Take a five year-old Windows laptop for which you've probably already had to buy a replacement battery, while still pushing the processor and hard drive to their very limits.
Intel's benchmark numbers suggest the 6th Gen Core – specifically, the mid-market Core i5 – will deliver triple the battery life alongside a 2.5x performance boost compared to the equivalent circa 2010 chip.
Of course, I'd hate to think that any Australian Business Traveller reader - indeed, any business traveller per se – would still be carting around such a clunker.
Three years seems closer to the norm when it comes to trade-up time, but even then there's quite a gap between that laptop and the soon-to-be-launched models when it comes to battery life and performance.
Starts faster, runs longer
The 6th Gen Core processors are also engineered for a fast-start mode which can trim boot time to seconds, especially if you've opted for one of the Ultrabook machines with a solid state drive.
Marry that SSD to the 6th Gen Core's low power consumption, which in turn means the chips run cooler so there's less need for fans to push hot air out from the laptop's innards, and you also get super-slim and lightweight 'fanless' designs.
Joining the dots, fan-free means laptops which run quieter and for even longer between recharges.
There's also support for fast wireless beaming of video to a projector, monitor or TV; 'Speed Shift' to quickly kick in extra processing muscle when it's needed; and, if the laptop's got an Intel RealSense Camera and running Windows 10, secure log-in using facial recognition.
(While talking operating systems, expect the 6th Gen Core products to also make their way into the next update to Apple's MacBook line.)
There's also what the boffins call 'Thunderbolt 3 for USB Type-C', which has already made its debut on the most recent MacBook Air: a one-socket-does-it-all approach to power, connectivity and expandability.
The biggest gains for road warriors appear to have come from the Core M chips, which will find their way into the skinniest notebooks (such as the insanely wafer-thin 12 inch MacBook) as well as some convertible 2-in-1 models with up to 10 hours' battery life plus a decent performance whack.
So should you hold off on buying a new Windows laptop or tablet until it's got a 6th Gen Core powerplant parked under the hood?
My rule has always been that if you need a new machine right now, then you buy it right now.
But if you can wait, you'll almost always find a better value down the road a bit – be it a new system for as much as you'd pay now, or one of today's models at a reduced 'end of line' price.
That said, my take is that most business travellers will want a 6th Gen Core in their next laptop.
Starting this week, Australian Business Traveller will be introducing more content on technology for the business traveller – incuding gear that makes life better even when you're not on the road.
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