An HP representative told Engadget that the company has developed a tablet reference design featuring a fanless fourth-generation Intel Core "Haswell" processor. It was actually on stage during Intel's press conference at Computex 2013 in Taipei, but the media was more focused on Intel's own version. HP plans to make an official announcement soon, and an actual tablet and/or hybrid product release later this year.
Intel Executive Vice President Tom Kilroy acknowledged earlier this week that the PC of the past is dying, that the 2-in-1 "hybrid" form factor is becoming the new norm: a laptop when you need it and a tablet when you want it. More than 50 designs are in the works, powered by either the company's fourth-generation Core "Haswell" or Atom "Silvermont" chips.
He said Haswell is the industry's first PC SoC and the company’s first chip specifically designed for 2-in1 form factors and Ultrabooks. It has 50 percent better battery life under active workloads, and up to 13 days of standby time compared to four days with Ivy Bridge. Some versions will have a 6 watt power rating, he said, and then presented a thin, fanless tablet to show what's possible with a 6-watt Core processor.
The presentation indicated that now thanks to Haswell, consumers do not have to choose between high-performance, multi-tasking PCs, and thin, lightweight, touch-focused tablets. Consumers should expect to see these 2-in-1 form factors with low-power Haswell chips around September to October.
Intel already offers "Clover Trail" and the upcoming "Bay Trail" Atom chips for tablets that don’t require cooling. However the current Surface Pro tablet sports an Intel "Ivy Bridge" Core i5 processor that actually does require active cooling. That said, a fanless Intel Core portable chip wasn't expected until Haswell's successor, Broadwell, arrives in the next few years.
Could these fanless Intel Core tablets be using liquid cooling despite the low power requirement? Just recently NEC introduced the first smartphone with such a feature, the Media X N-06E. It consists of a liquid-filled heatpipe that pulls heat away from a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 quad-core SoC, and disperses it all via a graphite "radiator" through the phone's polycarbonate exterior. The system board is also designed to disperse the heat.