Intel Haswell 'North Cape' reference design brings 10-hour tablet battery

Intel's Haswell-powered "North Cape" reference design has appeared again outside of CES 2013, this time with Intel providing some more information on the design they hope OEMs will use as a model.

North Cape is a hybrid laptop/tablet reference design powered by a full, fourth-generation Intel Core processor (codenamed "Haswell"), as opposed to the upcoming Bay Trail Atom processors that will likely dominate the lower end of Intel-powered tablets. Alongside this powerful processor Intel has opted for a 13-inch 1080p display, which reduces down to a hand-friendly 11.6-inch display in tablet mode by rejecting your hands on the sides of the display.

Perhaps the most interesting bit of information to surface surrounding the North Cape design is that Intel expects the battery life to be around 10 hours of use in tablet mode, which is what can be seen already in low-powered ARM and some Atom tablets. This is despite the inclusion of a Haswell processor, which indicates that we should be seeing some decent life by the time Haswell eventually ships.

Intel has also reportedly designed a new docking mechanism for these sort of hybrid PCs, opting for a one-button electric latch that can be used single-handed. Often dockable tablets have difficult to operate latches when you want to pull it out of the keyboard, but Intel believes this new mechanism will alleviate some of the issues.

It's still not entirely clear when Intel will finally launch Haswell to the market, although the expectation is that OEMs will begin to sell Haswell devices in June sometime, following reports that chips are already shipping to some PC manufacturers.

Source: Engadget | Image via Engadget

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It seems a lot of people are buying into the "Haswell energy savings bubble" Intel is throwing up.

Intel can say as much as they do, but slicing the energy usage in half is not even plausible looking at the previous inroads.
If they can get, say a Surface 2, to run 7 hours up from 5-ish, that already would be a very nice achievement.

Call me very skeptical, but I'll believe it when I see the official independent tests.......

so that would translate to roughly 7-8 hours for a Surface Pro.
All else is marketing, until I see the official independent tests.......

Good news. What is needed since it seems more and more people are going mobile. Just wish something would happen with smartphones/tablets.

10 hours is unrealistic for such a powerful CPU. They probably have a very large battery in this reference design. Haswell will likely add 1.5 - 3 hours extra battery life over current Ivy Bridge Win 8 tablets. I'd also expect Haswell tablets to still have fans. To be fanless you need to get under roughly 5 watt, and Haswell wont quite manage that.

Still, it's a nice balance between power and battery life. A Surface Pro 2 would be great with one of these.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,
10 hours is unrealistic for such a powerful CPU..

Don't take this the wrong way, but I'll believe Intel's word over yours, since they designed the unit

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,
Still, it's a nice balance between power and battery life. A Surface Pro 2 would be great with one of these.

Agreed!

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,

Still, it's a nice balance between power and battery life. A Surface Pro 2 would be great with one of these.

Is there a real problem with battery life on a Surface Pro? I find the one I use at work will last me a whole day. We have a couple more that engineers use and sales people use at their main systems that last them a day as well.

ZipZapRap said,

Don't take this the wrong way, but I'll believe Intel's word over yours, since they designed the unit ;

What i mean is, if they used a typical size tablet battery then it's literally impossible to get 10 hours. The laws of physics wont allow it. Unless of course Intel have significantly clocked it down, or have used a large battery, or have used some new smaller manufacturing process (which they haven't, it's still built on 22nm). Otherwise you can't get 10 hours with Haswell, which is already faster than a Ivy Bridge/Core i7, which is already many times faster than anything ARM have (and even ARM rarely get much past 10 hours). The Haswell architecture changes will only do so much.

Edited by W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E, Apr 26 2013, 2:35am :

techbeck said,

Is there a real problem with battery life on a Surface Pro? I find the one I use at work will last me a whole day. We have a couple more that engineers use and sales people use at their main systems that last them a day as well.

Well yeah, almost every review has that as the main negative. But thats the compromise for such a powerful tablet. It typically lasts just over 4 hours on battery, compared to ARM/Atom which easily get 9+ hours. I can't see how a Surface Pro could last a whole work day (if it's in constant use). I have an Asus Taichi which has similar specs and almost exactly the same battery life as the Pro, yet this wont last a whole work day.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,

What i mean is, if they used a typical size tablet battery then it's literally impossible to get 10 hours. The laws of physics wont allow it. Unless of course Intel have significantly clocked it down, or have used a large battery, or have used some new smaller manufacturing process (which they haven't, it's still built on 22nm). Otherwise you can't get 10 hours with Haswell, which is already faster than a Ivy Bridge/Core i7, which is already many times faster than anything ARM have (and even ARM rarely get much past 10 hours).

what are you talking about laws of physics? this isnt just a die shrink. certain components of the architecture as redesigned,and new power saving techniques are implemented in the die. you have no clue what haswell is. . And how the hell are they going to put a bigger battery in this device if its lighter and thinner than any current windows 8 tablets out now? have you seen teardowns of the surface pro? you cant fit a bigger battery. the laws of physics wont allow it. even if you could fit a bigger battery, size and weight would go up,not down.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,

Well yeah, almost every review has that as the main negative. But thats the compromise for such a powerful tablet. It typically lasts just over 4 hours on battery, compared to ARM/Atom which easily get 9+ hours. I can't see how a Surface Pro could last a whole work day (if it's in constant use). I have an Asus Taichi which has similar specs and almost exactly the same battery life as the Pro, yet this wont last a whole work day.


Doesn't the Taichi have two screens though?

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,

Well yeah, almost every review has that as the main negative. But thats the compromise for such a powerful tablet. It typically lasts just over 4 hours on battery, compared to ARM/Atom which easily get 9+ hours. I can't see how a Surface Pro could last a whole work day (if it's in constant use). I have an Asus Taichi which has similar specs and almost exactly the same battery life as the Pro, yet this wont last a whole work day.

Not consistent use. No one that I know of uses their system all day non stop. We also have our systems hibernate after 10min being idle. So that helps and it also depends what is being done on the tablet.

W32.Backdoor.KillAV.E said,
10 hours is unrealistic for such a powerful CPU.

Nobody said it had to be powerful. Those numbers could well be with a chip clocked south of 1.5ghz, which could end up tied with the performance of an A15 design at 2ghz (of course im pulling those numbers out of my arse, I'm just making a point)