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HP launches India’s first fifth generation Core M laptop

HP has released India’s first Broadwell, or fifth-generation Core processor, powered laptop, priced at Rs 39,990.

The Core M powered laptop, called 11-n108TU x360, is available on HP’s Online store in India, as well as on Flipkart, where it is priced Rs 42,990.

The HP Pavilion 11-n108TU x360 is not only India’s first laptop, but also the first commercial PC to be available built on the fifth generation Core processor technology from Intel.

Core M is Intel’s fifth generation Core technology intended for use on laptops. Intel has so far only released mobile-oriented (Core M) and low-voltage (‘U’ series) chips under its fifth generation Core series.

Desktop oriented models are expected to come later.

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Fifth generation, or Broadwell, chips are the world’s only chips to be built on the extremely efficient 14 nanometer technology and are much more energy efficient than their predecessors.

For example, HP’s 2170p Elitebook has almost the same specifications as the Pavillion 11-n108TU x360: 11.6 inch 720p HD display, 500 GB hard drive etc. The Elitebook also costs the same – Rs 39,990.

However, the Elitebook comes with a much bigger battery – 48 Watt-hour compared to the 29 Wh battery on the Broadwell laptop. This helps HP keep the weight of the fifth-generation Core M-based model to 1.4 kg vs 1.5 kg for the fourth generation Elitebook.

The Elitebook comes with a battery life of around 6-7 hours, while the battery life on the Core M laptop has not been specified on either HP’s online shopping page or on Flipkart.

However, we believe both should be comparable despite the Core M model coming with a smaller battery. We believe 11-n108TU x360 should give about 5-6 hours of battery life, though more details are awaited. The Asus T300FA, also built on the same chip, delivers a battery life of about 5 hours for light browsing usage.

The reason why the laptop is expected to give superior battery life lies largely in the chip. While the Core i3 3217U processor that powers the Elitebook is designed for a maximum thermal power consumption of 17 watts, the Core M-5Y10c processor is designed to work under a thermal envelope of just 4.5 watts – almost a quarter of the earlier model.

Of course, under typical use, a processor accounts for only around 30-50% of the total power consumption of a laptop. Still, a reduction of around 50% of the processor’s power consumption can increase battery life by around one-fourth to one-sixth.

In addition, users can further save battery by dimming the display and so on, while this kind of optimisation is not available for processor’s power consumption.

Another possible advantage for the Core M laptop is the possibility of it being fanless, though confirmatory details are not available in this regard.

For example, Asus has already launched the third in its T series of convertible laptops called T300FA, which comes with a fanless design and is also powered by the Core M-5Y10 processor.

The Asus T300FA delivers a battery life of about 5 hours for light browsing usage.

Anyway, the 11-n108TU x360 is only the first of the Core M laptops to be launched in India, with more coming from Asus, Lenovo, Dell and others in coming weeks.

Unlike earlier launches, Intel has not been able to deliver mobile oriented, low voltage and desktop oriented chips at the same time with its fifth generation launch.

As a result, the next to hit the market in India after the laptops will be mini-PCs or NUCs, as Intel likes to call them. Intel has already launched its NUCs based on the Broadwell architecture in the US.

They are expected to hit India by February and will be powered by low-voltage variants of fifth-generation i3, i5 and i7 processors which consume a maximum of around 17 watts of power.

Currently, a fourth-generation i5 4250U-powered NUC from Intel consumes a maximum of 15 watts of power at the processor level, and scores around 4,600 in Geekbench.

The upcoming Intel NUC, powered by the fifth generation Core i5 5300U processor, scores about 5,700 on the same benchmark while staying within the 15 watt thermal power envelope.

However, the launch date of the Broadwell-powered NUCs in India is not known yet.

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