Behind the Evo logo: a “draft” of more than 1500 parts for laptops

The past 2020 is a rare year for the PC industry. Due to the stimulation of distance learning and office demand, the shipments of PCs, especially notebooks, are increasing, an increase of 11% compared to last year, as if entering It's a golden age.

This is also the highest shipment volume recorded in the PC industry since 2014.

Contrasting with the industry's return to growth, the products of this industry are also blooming, ranging from entry-level products of 3,000 to 4,000 yuan to high-end products of 10,000 yuan. There are abundant and mature choices.

Therefore, when the mobile phone industry no longer needs consumers to snap up, many popular PC products need to be snapped up instead. We also mentioned before that if you need to choose a business notebook and the budget is not low, you can actually choose a notebook with the Evo logo with your eyes closed.

As a certification standard led by upstream manufacturers, Evo is not limited to the use of Intel’s 11th-generation Core processors. It is actually based on the actual experience to ensure that users not only get sufficient processor performance, but also not be Problems such as battery life, internet speed, and visual effects.

On the marketing side, Intel also summarized three words to explain the connotation of Evo certification: fast, long, and dazzling.

Faster is the processor’s strong performance and fast response; there is also support for Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5, and the network speed is fast; then there is a Thunderbolt 4 interface, which has fast transmission speed and wide application scenarios; the last one is from sleep The time to wake up should be fast.

Longer is long battery life, fast charging, at least to achieve more than 9 hours of battery life in real use scenarios, this 9 hours is the real user's real use time, which means that users can get a full daytime business office time. Of course, as an incidental, fast charging technology can also allow Evo-certified notebooks to get extra battery life.

Hyun is the visual service both inside and outside the notebook. The newly upgraded Xe architecture Iris core display can reach 150FPS or more whether it is with a 4K screen, or playing LOL or DOTA2. Even some 3A masterpieces can be played. Secondly, because of the progress of the processor manufacturing process, the increase in power consumption ratio, and the reduction in heat dissipation, many high-end business notebooks can already solve the triangle contradiction of performance, battery life and lightness to a certain extent.

Because the Evo logo on the notebook always appears at the same time as the 11th-generation Core processor sticker, many consumers think that as long as there is an 11th-generation Core, they can get an Evo logo sticker for free.

In fact, only a few notebooks equipped with 11th-generation Core processors can obtain Evo certification. This is because this certification is not that simple. In between, there is a long, technical man-style story, it is like a "draft" of more than 1,500 parts of a laptop, cruel and romantic.

Starting in 2018, Intel has worked with ecological partners to polish this target specification, starting from the actual user experience, to consider the impact of parts on product performance. Among the vast array of supply chain vendors, they referenced 90% of the suppliers, finally identified more than 150 partners, and tested the performance of hundreds of products in real scenarios.

What is the real scene?

Take the simplest example: Evo certification requires a minimum of 9 hours of battery life for a notebook. Correspondingly, on the details page of many notebooks, the battery life is also 9 hours. But the meaning of these two 9 hours is completely different.

In the test before obtaining Evo certification, Intel developed a unique workflow test tool, including Office editing applications such as Outlook, Power Point, Word, Excel, etc., mixing cloud-based streaming media, Zoom audio and video in a specific ratio Meetings, popular web browsing and other operations, and in the FHD resolution and 250 nits higher brightness settings, using Wi-Fi6 connection for real network testing. Among them, the most demanding indicator is the battery life, which must meet the 9-hour battery life under this condition to ensure that it is used throughout the day without charging.

The 9-hour battery life of many notebooks is the ultimate battery life measured under low brightness and low load in laboratory conditions.

If you don’t understand the difference, you might as well think about the NEDC operating range claimed for electric vehicles today, but the actual range may be 20% off in summer, 40% off in winter, and 40% off in winter in the north.

In addition to the above examples, Intel has divided the target specifications very finely, such as display, touch screen, ALS sensor, microphone, speaker, camera, Wi-Fi module, memory, SSD, battery, charger, keyboard, touch For key functional components such as keyboards, each component has specific specifications.

In fact, the Evo platform launched in 2020 is actually version 2.0 of the previous Athena plan. Based on this first version, Evo has added 10 new categories, expanded more than 30 design specifications, and finally presented 79 pages of content, involving There are more than 30 categories and more than 100 indicators. Any single item that does not meet the standards will lose Evo certification.

It can be said that 79 pages of content and more than a hundred indicators are also an encyclopedia of notebook research and development.

In the end, there are currently about 300 notebooks using the 11th-generation Core processor, but only 50 or 60 notebooks have passed the Evo certification.

Rather than looking at the certified notebooks, it is better to look at the players who failed to understand the standard:

  • A certain OEM product has 4 different SSDs to choose from. One of the SSDs failed to pass the Athena Project’s response time test and was found to be non-compliant. In the end, the product only equipped with 3 verified SSDs can be shipped as Evo certified products.
  • An OEM product has excellent battery life performance, but unfortunately failed to pass the Evo certification because it failed the Athena program's response time test.
  • A certain OEM product performed well in all indicators, but failed to pass Evo certification because it did not support standby network connections.

Although the standards are ruthless and stringent, for up-and-coming manufacturers, a high standard is not only a compass to improve their own R&D level, but more importantly, as an upstream company, Intel can also provide a lot of help for R&D.

Because Evo certification involves all aspects of notebook accessories, Intel opened three global laboratories in the United States, Shanghai, China, and Taiwan, and participated in the OEM product design and planning at the beginning of the process, and worked with customers to explore better innovations. , Shining points, make products more differentiated, more accurately reflect the needs of users. And selected more than 200 suppliers’ preferred products to be directly added to the open laboratory, including active devices such as power supply, memory, storage, display and image sensors, and organic components (front frame, rear shell, inner frame, keyboard panel) , Base, shaft, touch screen, connectors, etc.), heat dissipation, inductors, batteries and other passive devices.

This is the final result of the "draft" of 1,500 parts.

In the laboratory, Intel has actually optimized parts before OEM manufacturers to help manufacturers reduce the R&D process.

To give another example, notebooks are now popular with narrow bezels. This trend is not only a design issue, but also a technical issue.

In Intel Labs, they tried to move the screen frame as far as possible to the edge of the notebook, but this made it difficult to place the antenna. Therefore, through platform-level cooperation, Intel has made breakthroughs and innovations in antenna technology, reducing the space occupied by the antenna to 10% of the original, so that the size of many 14-inch notebooks is only equivalent to the previous 13-inch notebooks.

In addition, in terms of key battery life performance, Intel not only improves the power consumption performance of its own processors, but also cooperates with the industry chain to reduce the power consumption of the screen. For example, working with Sharp to bring a low-power screen, which can reduce the power of the screen to only 1W.

According to actual application scenarios and workloads, in the case of multi-purpose, reducing from a 2W screen to a 1W screen will probably extend the battery life by 20%.

The way to improve battery life is not only on the processor and screen, two power consumers, but there is also the most reliable way: to increase the battery. However, if you increase the battery, you have to increase the size of the body. If you increase the size, it will not look good, and it will not be high-end. After all, high-end business books are all competing thinner and smaller.

This also requires Intel to cooperate with suppliers and OEM manufacturers to resolve this contradiction:

Miniaturized PCB board design, thereby increasing the battery capacity;

  • The main device selection, using low-power devices;
  • Optimize the circuit and layout design of the motherboard, optimize the power supply design to improve the efficiency of voltage conversion;
  • Customize and refine the product from the aspects of hardware, firmware, drivers and systems, and remove unnecessary modules;
  • The AI ​​solution is used with sensors at all levels to accurately determine the usage scenarios in real time to further reduce power consumption.

From the starting point, Evo certification seems to be a rigorous thing, but this process is indeed very meaningful for the industry chain and terminal manufacturers. This kind of industry chain collaboration starting from the top will not only optimize products, but also It can also speed up this process.

A few years ago, the task of Intel’s Client Computing Group (CCG) was no longer to provide a chip. Now, the new vision is becoming clearer: to promote industry-wide collaboration and promote the development of the PC platform.

In the end, in the past 2020, the glorious scene of the PC industry has not only external factors, but also internal factors from the entire industry. Competition still exists and products are more mature and rich.

Speaking of this, it is in line with what Intel said at the beginning of the year: markets will not "emerge" naturally, they are created. Excellent products and platforms that disrupt industries will drive these growth areas.

In the plastic greenhouse of destiny, every cabbage that has been sprayed with too much pesticide has a dream of becoming a pollution-free organic vegetable.

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