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Getting a new laptop? Wait a few months, at least

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Thinking of getting a new laptop? You may want to plan your purchase carefully, depending on whether it's a near-term purchase or a mid-term one. The reason, explains Scott Stein of CNET, is that Intel's upcoming Ivy Bridge processors are scheduled to land between April and late May.

And if you've been following the "tick-tock" model adopted by Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), you'll know that Ivy Bridge, with its die shrink, is expected to bring about a larger jump in performance than the Sandy Bridge update released in early 2011.

So if you're thinking of getting a laptop soon, it may be wise to hold off until April or May, when new laptops armed with Ivy Bridge come onto the scene. The alternative is being stuck with a brand-spanking-new laptop that's one generation behind.

Plus, Ivy Bridge will also come with improved on-board graphics performance, battery life enhancements and hardware support for USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt.

Now, if you're aiming to get a new machine in the second half of 2012, plan on buying it during the holiday season--which is when laptops and tablets running on Windows 8 are expected to debut.

For all the confusion revolving around Windows for ARM versus Windows for Intel, the general consensus seems to be that Windows 8 is a substantial improvement over previous versions of the Windows OS.

After all, over a million downloads of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview have been clocked in the first 24 hours since it was released. If you're not the type to give the preview a spin yourself, check out the rundown of Windows 8 features we reported on here.

So when would you get a new laptop? In May (Ivy Bridge) or during the holidays (Windows 8)? Looking forward to hearing from you. - Paul Mah  (Twitter @paulmah)