What can the Intel Skylake technology bring to the budget notebook

Intel Skylake could offer improved performance for budget and family laptops

Intel Skylake could offer improved performance for budget and family laptops

Intel has used the newer Skylake processor technology as a way to get more out of affordable notebook computers while supporting the high-end of the market.

Intel Skylake technology will allow budget computers to benefit from a performance improvement compared to their predecessors and mainstream 15” family laptops will benefit from this improvement whether they run the H-series i3 or i5 processors. The i5 processors in this series will offer four-core processing which was something that was previously reserved for the premium i7 processors. This will include the use of improved integrated graphics with an example being the Intel HD530 integrated graphics yielding what is equivalent to entry-level discrete graphics. But the let-down here with this graphics chipset is that it is power-hungry which may not be of concern with the so-called “family” laptop computer which will typically be plugged in to AC power while at home.

Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook on tray table

Ultrabooks that work well for writing up notes on that long flight

The U-Series processors, which come in the Pentium, i3, i5 and i7 variants will be pitched at low-profile machines like 2-in-1s and Ultrabooks. These won’t support a “turbo-boost” performance enhancement and are optimised for long battery runtime. The cheaper processors like the Pentium may have an appeal towards “essential tasks” secondary computers like Ultrabooks that are simply used as “portable typewriters” to type up notes and other material during a flight or small 2-in-1s simply purchased for use as on-the-road “email and Facebook” computers.

Alienware Graphics Amplifier expansion module

A graphics expansion module that could option up budget and mainstream laptops

Another feature that I would also admire is the implementation of Thunderbolt 3 over USB 3.1 Type-C. The main benefit that I would like to see would be to allow a budget, ultraportable or mainstream computer to come with integrated graphics yet support discrete graphics when paired with a graphics expansion module. This can be a small box that houses the graphics processor or a card cage that houses one or two regular graphics cards and these devices could also house other extra options like an optical drive, USB 3.1 hub or sound module.

This will please, for example, parents who are buying a senior-high-school student their first laptop. They may not know if the student is going to end up dabbling with advanced graphics in their work, study or leisure activities and don’t need to specify discrete graphics if this isn’t the case. But the student could purchase discrete graphics as an add-on if they are thinking of advanced computer gaming as a recreational activity.

What the Intel Skylake processors could open up is the arrival of highly-capable computers that are at a price everyone can afford.

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