Intel’s Next-gen Haswell Ultrabook Reference Design, ‘North Cape’

Posted on 08 January 2013, Last updated on 08 January 2013 by

Image courtesy CNET

Image courtesy CNET

At CES Intel is showing off their latest reference design for next-generation Ultrabooks with their next-gen CPU, Haswell. If you’ve been following Intel for any amount of time, you’ll know that they love reference designs. Reference designs package the company’s latest tech into a concept machine that won’t ever make it to market, but serves to show what is possible with their latest platform. Their latest Ultrabook reference design has a detachable screen which can be used as a tablet.

Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager of Intel's PC Client Group, shows off the North Cape Ultrabook reference design on-stage at the Intel keynote.

Kirk Skaugen, vice president and general manager of Intel’s PC Client Group, shows off the North Cape Ultrabook reference design on-stage at the Intel keynote.

Maybe even more than reference designs, Intel loves codenames. They’re calling this reference design ‘North Cape’.

CNET got some photos of the unit yesterday at CES. North Cape represents a third-generation Ultrabook running Intel’s fourth-generation processor. Confused? We wrote previously about the difference between first and second-gen Ultrabooks:

All the ‘generation’ talk can be a bit confusing because there are two separate parts to consider.

First there is the Ultrabook itself. This is a term trademarked by Intel. Then there are the processors: the first generation of Ultrabooks launched in 2011 and were based on Intel’s ‘Sandy Bridge’ processors. The second generation of Ultrabooks launched in 2012 and are based on Intel’s ‘Ivy Bridge’ processors.

Now here’s where the confusion happens — Sandy Bridge is the second generation of Intel’s ‘Core’ series of processors. There was no Ultrabook based on the first generation of these processors. Thus, the first generation of Ultrabooks are based on the second generation of  Core processors (Sandy Bridge). The second generation of Ultrabooks are based on the third generation of Core processors (Ivy Bridge).

… and now the third generation of Ultrabooks is based on the fourth generation of Core processors (Haswell).

According to CNET, Intel says that North Cape can run for 10 hours as a tablet, or 13 hours in laptop mode (thanks to a battery in the keyboard) with a Core i7 Haswell chip inside.

The device is impressively thin and we wouldn’t be surprised if it is fanless:

The tablet portion of North Cape

The tablet portion of North Cape

CNET notes that the aspect ratio of the display changes once the tablet is detached from the keyboard, possibly to give the user more room to grip the display which is otherwise nearly edge-to-edge. Other specifications were’t revealed, but you should expect to see similar designs from PC manufacturers in 2013 — especially with Intel now requiring touchscreens on third-gen Ultrabooks.

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