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HP updates ultraportable with Core i5, i7 chips

Hewlett-Packard is updating its line of business ultraportable laptops with Intel's latest chips.

Hewlett-Packard is refreshing its business ultraportable laptop and hybrid laptop-tablet with Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, becoming one of the first major PC makers to squeeze these powerful processors into a small, lightweight design.

HP EliteBook 2540p
HP EliteBook 2540p Hewlett-Packard

Intel announced the Core i series of processors last year, but to date the chips have been limited mostly to desktops and large-screen laptops. HP's compact EliteBook 2540p and 2740p have 12-inch screens and weigh in at about 3.4 and 3.8 pounds, respectively.

The 2540p can be configured with standard-power Core i5 or Core i7 processors or a Core i7 that draws less power--a so-called low-voltage processor. Graphics are provided by Intel's integrated graphics silicon.

Like the prior-generation 2530p model, the 2540p can be ordered with or without a built-in optical drive. Units without an optical drive, can take 2.5-inch 7200RPM SATA II hard disk drives ranging up to 500GB in capacity. Units ordered with an optical drive use smaller 1.8-inch 5400RPM SATA II drives, ranging up to 320GB in capacity.

The 2540p is also available with 2.5-inch and 1.8-inch solid-state drives that max out at 160GB.

Other features include USB 2.0, VGA, DisplayPort, 1394a, and gigabit Ethernet ports. And an option for an integrated EV-DO/HSPA 3G modem is available too.

Battery life for the 2540p is rated by HP at up to 10 hours with a nine-cell battery and 8 hours with a 6-cell battery.

HP has also updated its convertible laptop--which can be used as a laptop or a tablet--with the 2740p model (updating the prior-generation 2730p). The 2740p has specifications similar to the 2540p but does not offer the option for a 2.5-inch 7200rpm hard disk drive.

HP rolled out other business models too on Monday. The ProBook 4320s (13.3-inch screen), HP ProBook 4420s (14-inch), HP ProBook 4520s (15.6-inch) and HP ProBook 4720s (17.3-inch).

All of HP's new offerings come with HP DayStarter, which allows access to key information before Windows boots up.

The HP EliteBook 2540p starts at $1,099 and is expected to be available in the United States in April. The 2740p starts at $1,599 and is also slated to be available in April. The ProBook s-series starts at $719 and will be available this month.