CES 2015 | Acer unveils Broadwell-powered Aspire R13 and Aspire S7
Intel's Broadwell-U processors arrived just in time for CES 2015 and most manufacturers will now be introducing updated models of their devices with ULV CPUs. Acer is no exception: the company has announced a refresh of the Aspire S7 flagship ultrabook and the Aspire R13 convertible. Both devices will be available with ULV processors up to Core i7-5500U.
While we don't have any benchmarks so far, the general expectation of the Broadwell CPUs is a 5-15% performance increase over their respective Haswell predecessors (in this case, Core i7-4500U) combined with reduced power consumption (and thus increased battery life) thanks to the new 14 nm manufacturing process. Better integrated graphics performance is expected as well: it is already known that Intel HD Graphics 5500 in the i7-5500U will include 24 execution units, which is 4 more than in HD 4400 (i7-4500U). Assuming comparable GPU clock frequency, that should translate to approximately 20% performance gain.
We have already reviewed both Aspire S7 and Aspire R13 and there doesn't seem to be a lot of changes in terms of available interfaces and communications from the last year's models: both devices still offer two USB 3.0 ports and one USB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11ac (which is new only for Aspire S7 and was already present in last-year Aspire R13) with Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Di and an HDMI video output. Their 13.3-inch touchscreens (protected by Gorilla Glass 2 in case of Aspire S7 and Gorilla Glass 3 for Aspire R13) use IPS panels with Full HD (1920x1080 pixels) or WQHD (2560x1440) resolution, depending on the chosen configuration. The maximum amount of RAM is still 8 GB for both devices, but the storage differs: Aspire S7 still offers only up to 256 GB SSD storage in RAID 0 while Aspire R13 also supports RAID 0 but the maximum capacity grew from 512 GB (as in last-year model) to 1 TB.
Both updated models should become available for purchase later this month worldwide. The exact pricing is not yet announced but isn't likely to differ from the current models' prices considerably ($1200 for the Aspire S7 and $800 to $1500 for Aspire R13 depending on the configuration).
Curiously enough, this is the second time the Aspire S7 gets updated with a new-generation processor without any major changes to its other specifications or design: evidently, the model is popular enough among the buyers to justify against any such changes. Considering our very positive impression of this ultrabook, it is not very surprising.
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