At Computex 2013, the world was graced with Intel’s newest creation: the 4th-generation “Haswell” processor. Intel’s newest chip boasts next-gen stats, including increased performance and better energy efficiency. The company claims a 15 percent increase in speed between Haswell and previous Core processors. However, you’re not going to see a massive boost in compute performance (although there has been a small improvement). The real beauty behind Haswell, in addition to graphics performance, is increased battery life and energy saving capabilities.
It’s been just a little over a month since Haswell launched, and we’re starting to see the 4th-gen Core processors in a number of devices. Before you run out to buy a laptop or desktop with the latest processor, make sure to check out our story on whether or not now’s actually the best time to buy a Haswell device. After you read our guide, if you still decide you’re ready to buy a Haswell PC right now, here’s eight laptops and desktops you can get today running Intel’s latest.
Razer Blade ($1,800)
Listen up, gamers. Razer’s Blade offers the gaming power you need, packaged with the sleek portability of an Ultrabook. As we said in our Blade review, the laptop looks like a MacBook that decided to become a roadie instead of getting a “real job.” The sleek Blade is housed in a slim uni-body metal chassis. It’s the perfect modern look for the gamer on the go, but it isn’t all about aesthetics.
The 14-inch model (there is a 17-inch version, too) features a Haswell Core i7-4702HQ processor, which helps carry the powerful graphics capabilities of an Nvidia GeForce 765M discrete GPU. Eight gigabytes of RAM rounds out the internal specs, and you’ll have plenty of room for games on a 128GB solid-state drive. Of course, these specs come form the base model, and there are some upgrade options available, including a larger screen and SSD. This gaming Ultrabook will set you back around $1,800.
Apple MacBook Air 2013 ($1,000)
Speaking of devices that look like a MacBook, how about the Apple product itself? The revamped version of the MacBook Air, unveiled at Apple’s WWDC, doesn’t contain a lot of the updates we’d hoped for, like a redesigned body or a retina display, but it does include a 4th-gen processor. Really, all that Apple did for its trademark Ultrabook is toss in some new internal parts to better boost the device’s specifications.
One of those internal pieces is a Haswell processor, the Core i5-4250U to be exact. Just like the Razer Blade, Apple is leaving some of the customization to the customer. The base model, 11-inch MacBook Air, comes with 4 GB of RAM, Intel 4600 graphics capabilities, a 12-hour battery life, and 128 GB worth of flash storage. Apple is definitely attempting to undercut some of its competition, too, with a $1,000 price tag. The 13-inch model starts at $1,100.
Read our review of the 2013 MacBook Air for more details.
Acer Aspire M5-583P-6428 ($700)
If you’re an Acer fan, then you’ll want to direct your attention to the company’s latest Aspire M5 update. After the unveiling of the Intel Haswell chip, Acer announced plans to upgrade its Aspire M5. The revamp includes a 4th- generation Intel i5-4200U processor clocked at 1.6Ghz (or 2.6 Ghz with the Turbo Boost option). That Haswell chip powers Intel 4400 HD graphics on a 15.6-inch HD widescreen CineCrystal LED backlit touchscreen display. Other internal specs include a 500GB hard drive, and 8 GB of DDR3 system memory.
Aside from the Haswell chip, Acer also added what it calls WiDi technology to the notebook. This WiDi feature will allow you to wirelessly mirror your desktop to your television. This is perfect for viewing movies stored on your Aspire M5. Although, if you do find yourself watching on the device itself, you’ll find four new 2-watt speakers, located near the front of the laptop, to be of use. At less than an inch thick, the new M5 has a metal chassis, backlit keyboard, and an estimated battery life of 6.5 hours. The Aspire M5 is listed at a modest price of $700 and is available exclusively at Best Buy stores.
HP Envy 15 and 17 ($800)
Hewlett-Packard has at least one horse in this race, or in this case. HP calls its new Envy Quad Edition the ‘perfect combination of performance, entertainment, and design.’ From an aesthetics stand point, HP’s new Envy 15 and 17 look pretty simple. At just a little less than 1.5 inches thick, it has a thin design with an almost triangular shape when closed as the case is thicker at the back than it is in the front. The Envy Quad Edition comes in two sizes, 15-inch and 17-inch, and HP gives you a multitude of upgrade options.
Under the hood, and for base price, you’ll find a 4th-generation Intel Core i7-4700MQ Processor. This powers an Intel Graphics 4600 card, but you can get an Nvidia GeForce GT 740M graphics card for $70 more. As far as storage goes, you’ll get a whopping 1TB of hard drive space, and 8GB DDR3 system memory. All of this comes packaged on the base tier for each model, but you can boost your processor all the way up to a 4th-generation Intel Core i7-4900MQ, pack in a 2TB 5400 rpm dual hard drive, and upgrade to 16GB worth of DDR3 system memory. At $800, the 15-inch base Envy Quad Edition is affordable, while the 17-inch base will only cost you $100 more.
Sony Vaio Duo 13 ($1,400)
Shortly after the Haswell launch, Sony upgraded some of its devices to support Intel’s new chips. This upgrade gave birth to the revamped Sony Vaio Duo 13, another take on the Ultrabook and tablet hybrid. The Duo 13 features a unique sliding design that allows it to flip between tablet, hover, and notebook modes. At 0.77 inches in the back and 0.36 inches in the front, it’s definitely thin.
Internally, you’ll find a 4th-gen Intel Core i5-4200U processor alongside an Intel HD 4400 graphics processor. The ready-to-ship base model (you can also upgrade and customize) comes with a 13.3-inch capacitive touchscreen, 4GB of system memory, a 128GB SSD drive, and an internal Lithium polymer battery that boasts 10 hours of battery life. You’ll also get a stylus that stores neatly in a special compartment on the side of the device, as well as access to Sony’s sound drivers and software. The ready-to-ship version of the Vaio Duo 13 starts at $1,400.
We have yet to review the upgrade Sony Vaio Duo, but let’s hope it’s better than the Vaio Duo 11 we reviewed in March.
Asus G750JX-DB71 ($1,900)
With the launch of Haswell for business PCs coming later in the fall, gaming PCs are definitely taking advantage of the new processor as quickly as possible. Asus jumped on the bandwagon with its new G750JX-DB71 notebook. When you first glance at this machine you might be taken aback by its large but unique, space age-like design. One of our favorite details is jet engine-looking fan vents that jut slightly from the back of the casing. But, like all of the other devices in this list, it’s not just about looks.
Inside the G750JX-DB71 you’ll find an Intel Core i7-4700HQ clocked at 3.4GHz. This processor will help an Nvidia GeForce GTX 770M with 3GB GDDR5 to display HD graphics on the device’s 17.3-inch FHD anti-glare display. This laptop is packed with 16GB of DDR3 RAM, but offers support for up to 32GB. You’ll get tons of storage with its 1TB of HDD, as well as 256GB of SSD. You’ll also get access to 32GB of Asus WebStorage. This is a powerful machine and should appeal to the gamer that wants one of the best setups possible. As we mention in our review, its impressive performance, solid quality, and a reasonable price tag, ($1,900) make it the top choice for hardcore gamers lacking a hardcore budget.
Dell Alienware X51 ($900)
We know all you desktop users out there are probably feeling pretty neglected. Well buck up, we’ve got some desktop options (although they’re mainly geared towards gamers). Clearly the gaming industry is taking full advantage of Haswell.
To start with, Dell’s Alienware X51 unique casing allows it to be used in both a horizontal and vertical alignments. It’s slim enough to stand up and fit snug in a home theater or desk, but also strong enough to place sideways, with a monitor set atop it (pretty old school concept, we know).
Because this device is custom tailored to the gamer, you can be sure it packs punch. At its core (and the base model), the X51 features a 4th-gen Core i5-4430 and an Nividia GeForce GTX 645 graphics card with 1GB GDDR5. The base Haswell configuration has a 1TB SATA HDD, and 8GB of DDR3 memory. Like most of Dell’s products, the Alienware X51 is very customizable, so you’ll have to fiddle around with what features you want to get yourself a solid price on this unit. But at its base, you can expect to pay $900, making it one of the least expensive gaming desktops we’ve ever reviewed.
Falcon Northwest Fragbox 2013 ($1,700)
Now for something completely different – or at least aesthetically different. The Fragbox from custom-PC creator, Falcon Northwest, has a very unique, albeit useful, design. About the size of a shoebox, the Fragbox is small and has an excellent build. It even has a handle built in to make it easy to carry this little PC around. Don’t fret if you’re looking for something completely square though, as the handle itself can be removed.
Design aside, what can you expect from this miniature unit? Falcon Northwest is a custom-creator, so you’ll have to build your product from the ground up. There is a “base model” in a sense, as the company’s customization tool will suggest a starting point for you. You’ll add one of Intel’s Haswell Core 4000 series processors, and from there, it’s up to 32GB of 1866 MHz of system memory, up to 2TB of HDD space (or up to two 960GB SSDs if you prefer and have an extra $1,380), and up to an Nvidia Quadro 6000 with 6GB of video memory (ATI fans will find options here too). Price is completely dependent on the choices you make, but Falcon Northwest’s “start up version” sets the price at around $1,700.
These are just a handful of the Haswell PCs available to buy now, but more and more are hitting shelves every day. Make sure to check back as we update our list. Have you bought a new PC powered by Haswell? If so, which one?
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