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Don't buy a new PC or Mac before you read this


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Don't buy a new PC or Mac before you read this

Is the laptop, desktop, or tablet you plan to buy stuck with a last-gen CPU? That may be a reason to wait -- or a way to get a great deal. Here's how to tell.

June 27, 2013 4:11 PM PDT



While summer break has just started for students across the country, that means that the all-important back-to-school shopping season is not far behind. And with it comes a flood of new or updated systems -- everything from traditional laptops and desktops to tablets and hybrids.


But before swiping your credit card on a new ultrabook, all-in-one, or convertible, you're going to want to dive a little deeper into the spec sheets. That's because the latest Intel CPU upgrade -- code named Haswell, but officially known as "fourth-generation Core i series" -- is offering significant battery life improvements in the first wave of laptops we've tested so far. So, unlike the more ho-hum Intel updates we've seen in years past, there's a real-world payoff in seeking out a Haswell-equipped laptop.


On the other hand, if battery life isn't a big concern -- if you're going for a desktop PC, or if you have a "desktop replacement" laptop that you don't tend to disconnect from the power cord -- you could score a nice discount on the many pre-Haswell PCs that will inevitably make their way to the discount bin.


How do you tell which is which? That's the tricky part.

The current laptop landscape

As we move into the Haswell era, the market is in flux. Many "new" laptops and hybrids, such as the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11S, Acer Aspire R7, or the Toshiba Kirabook, all still ship with processors from Intel's third-generation Core i series, the same parts that have been found in most PCs since spring 2012. Only a handful of more-forward-looking systems already have Intel's just-released fourth-generation Intel Core i-series Haswell processors.

Need a 14-hour laptop? Get the new 13-inch MacBook Air.

Normally that wouldn't be a big deal, because any current laptop will have more than enough processing power for everyday tasks, such as Web surfing, HD video playback, social media networking, and working on basic office documents. For that reason, in years past, having the latest and greatest processors wasn't especially high on my priorities list. Frankly, the average consumer wouldn't feel much of a difference in surfing the Web on a laptop with a budget-minded Intel Core i3 versus one with a high-end Core i7. (More...)


Continued: http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-3121_7-57591398-220/dont-buy-a-new-pc-or-mac-before-you-read-this/?part=rss&subj=news&tag=title



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