Hardware

Project Athena Laptops Will Get A New Swanky Intel Badge

Intel Project Athena appears to be entering the commercial arena. High-end laptops that are usually configured for better performance and graphics for productivity, as well as gaming, will soon have Intel processors that have been “engineered for mobile performance”. CPUs meant for such powerful yet mainstream laptops and mobile computing devices that are purpose-built to help people focus, adapt to life’s roles and always be ready, will have the stickers. It appears Intel wants to convey that the processors inside the laptops are just as powerful as their desktop counterparts even if they are optimized for higher efficiency and better battery life.

Premium laptops that students, professionals as well as gamers prefer, would soon include an additional label that indicates the CPU’s design architecture. During this year’s CES, Intel had announced ‘Project Athena’, its ambitious but much-needed program to improve the quality, performance, and efficiency of Intel CPUs that go into laptops. The multi-year program for the PC ecosystem was meant to improve not just the critical aspects of the CPU, but also the other features that laptop buyers often demand.

What Is Intel Project Athena And How Does It Ensure Capable Yet Optimized CPUs?

Intel Project Athena is a rather comprehensive program that aims to improve the CPUs that go within laptops and other portable computing devices which could include tablets, convertibles, two-in-one, etc. Intel deployed the project with multiple aims, including making thin-and-light laptops faster, longer-lasting, and all-around better for most users, including professionals, students, and gamers.

Project Athena may sound confusing to end consumers who often feel lost while looking for and comparing specifications. Consumers seldom care about specification sheets, manuals detailing optimum usage policies or benchmarks. Intel’s aim with Project Athena is to simplify the process of making the buying decision. Project Athena’s first commercial and visible deployment in the real world is the “Engineered for Mobile Performance” label that PC and laptop makers, including OEMs, will stick on their products. The label should serve as a quick indicator that confirms the laptop will meet certain high-end specifications and would perform well under “real-world performance conditions.” As part of the press release, Intel justified the new label:

“Research suggests that consumers often rely on visual signals and retail displays to inform their buying decisions. Testing of the identifier and its messaging showed that it grabbed people’s attention in stores and online and indicates how the laptops are the result of engineering collaborations specifically designed for on-the-go PC experiences.”

Features Of Laptops That Boast Of Intel “Engineered for Mobile Performance” label:

PC OEMs and retailers can use the “Engineered for Mobile Performance” label and branding across promotions and in-store as well as online retail environments. However, not all laptops that pack the high-end Intel CPUs will get to wear the badge. Still, several portable computing devices from Dell, HP, Acer, Asus, Lenovo, and Samsung should soon receive the qualification. Intel expects these attractive, powerful, efficient laptops with long-lasting battery life should arrive before 2019 ends. To qualify, laptop manufacturers will have to ensure the following criteria outlined in Project Athena 1.0 are met:

Instant Action: Modern Connected Standby and Lucid Sleep features implement fast wake with a simple lid-lift, push of a button or quick fingerprint recognition.

Performance and Responsiveness: Systems based on Intel Core i5 or i7 processors with Intel Dynamic Tuning Technology, 8GB DRAM dual-channel and 265GB NVMe SSD including Intel Optane memory H10 options.

Intelligence: Including features such as far-field voice services and support for OpenVINO and WinML. Upcoming designs based on 10th Gen Intel Core processors bring broad-scale intelligent performance to the laptop with Intel Deep Learning Boost for approximately 2.5X AI performance.

Battery Life: Including fast-charging capabilities over USB Type-C, integration and optimization of low-power components and co-engineering support for power efficiency.

Connectivity: A fast and persistent connection with Intel Wi-Fi 6 (Gig+) and optional Gigabit LTE. Connect to billions of USB Type C devices with Thunderbolt 3, the fastest and most versatile port available.

Form Factor: Touch display, precision touchpads and more in sleek, thin-and-light and 2 in 1 designs with narrow bezels for a more immersive experience.

Incidentally, Dell’s new XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 is the first premium laptop that already wears the “Engineered for Mobile Performance” badge. Surprisingly, in addition to meeting all the criteria of the Project Athena 1.0, the device also has an additional sensor that senses when the user is lifting the screen and switches on the laptop.

Interestingly, Project Athena goes beyond Windows-based laptops. Intel has inked a deal with Google. According to the agreement, even high-end Chromebooks should soon qualify and sport the new Intel label. It was only a short while ago that Intel had approached Samsung to make its 10nm CPUs. However, the company appears to have regained its momentum?


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