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Intel’s Alder Lake-N line of processors are low-cost, low-power chips designed for entry-level laptops, tablets, and mini PCs. But Intel says the Intel Core i3-N305 processor, which is the highest-performance Alder Lake-N chip to date, offers the kind of performance you’d expect from a Core i3 processor… thus the name.
Now one of the first laptops featuring that chip is available for purchase. The Acer Aspire 3 with a Core i3-N305 processor is now available from Acer. The company is selling a 3.1 pound model with a 14 inch display for $480 and a 3.8 pound version with a 15.6 inch screen for $500.
Both models feature 1920 x 1080 pixel displays, 8GB of single-channel LPDDR5 RAM, and 256GB of PCIe Gen 3 NVMe solid state storage. Both support WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0, feature 720p webcams and stereo speakers, and have USB Type-C and Type-A ports, a headphone jack, and HDMI port. Only the 15.6 inch version has an Ethernet jack and numeric keypad though.
But it’s the processor that really makes these laptops stand out from other budget notebooks.
The Core i3-N305 chip is a 15-watt processor featuring 8 Gracemont CPU cores with support for speeds up to 3.8 GHz. There’s no support for hyperthreading, but multitasking performance should still be pretty decent with eight cores.
For graphics, the chip features an integrated Intel UHD GPU with 32 execution units and support for speeds up to 1.25 GHz. While you won’t get the same level of gaming or graphics performance from this chip that you’d see in a Core i5 or Core i7 U- or P-series processor with Iris Xe graphics, there GPU should be more than good enough to handle 4K video playback on an external display.
Overall, these are still budget laptops. But it’s nice to see that even budget laptops are getting a little more horsepower these days.