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      Review: Walmart’s Core i5 Ice Lake laptop, back in stock at $500

      Jim Salter · / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 27 October, 2020 - 11:15 · 1 minute

    A cow looks at us from the screen of a laptop.

    Enlarge / It looks like the cow is judging me—but that's OK, I'm about to judge the cow right back. (credit: Jim Salter)

    The Ice Lake-powered GWTN156-1BL we're reviewing today is one of an entire line of inexpensively manufactured, Gateway-branded laptops available exclusively at Walmart. We intended to review it last month, alongside its $350, Ryzen-powered little sibling the GWTN141-2 —but it sold out so quickly we weren't able to get our hands on one until Walmart refreshed its stock last week.

    Although we're really only looking at the $500 Ice Lake version today, we'll include the specs for the $350 Ryzen-powered alternative as a refresher, since we expect a lot of people may hesitate between the two. Ultimately, both machines are at least reasonable purchases—but we think the cheaper GWTN141-2 is more compelling, despite being a wimpier machine overall.

    At $350, there aren't many laptop options available, and the GWTN141-2—despite its warts—comes out thoroughly on top. But at the GWTN156-1BL's $500, the market opens up considerably. Major manufacturers such as Lenovo, ASUS, and Acer all offer pretty reasonable designs for $550 or less. The refurbished market, on the other hand, still isn't very competitive—the best deals at under $600 tend to feature sixth-generation i5 CPUs which look paltry next to the Gateway's low-end Ice Lake.

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      Intel promises high CPU and GPU performance in Tiger Lake laptop parts

      Jim Salter · / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 13 August, 2020 - 13:00 · 1 minute

    A tiger appears to swim through a microchip.

    Enlarge / Joe Exotic was not given a pass to attend Architecture Day 2020. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images )

    This Tuesday, Intel held an all-day virtual "Architecture Day" conference and took attendees on a deep dive into the architecture of upcoming products in all categories: CPUs, GPUs (dedicated and integrated), and FPGAs. We learned a lot about what Intel's been working on and why, with the most concrete details being about the most imminent release—next month's Tiger Lake laptop processors.

    Ditching the ticks, tocks, and plusses

    Even for a conference called "Architecture Day," Intel took us unusually deep into its manufacturing and packaging processes. The day's presentations leaned as heavily on improvements in the individual transistors and capacitors on-die as they did on improvements in the processor designs themselves.

    Aside from the purely educational angle, Intel's focus on the lower levels of design appeared to serve two purposes. The lower-level focus made Intel's 10nm process sound worth the unexpectedly long wait—and it gave Intel a chance to ditch the ponderous "++" suffixes to its process size and dub the whole thing a more human-friendly "SuperFin."

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