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HP Voodoo silicon mimics MacBook Air, ThinkPad

Hewlett-Packard, like Apple and Lenovo, has opted for special low-power processors from Intel and other similar features.

Notice any similarities between the Hewlett-Packard Voodoo Envy and its thin rivals, the Apple MacBook Air or ThinkPad X300? Yes, they're all very thin. But look inside and you'll see more common features.

To deliver reasonable processing power at low power the Voodoo Envy opted for the same special low-power processors used in the Air: the Intel SP7700 and SP7500.

You won't find these processors listed on Intel's processor pricing page. They were designed originally for the MacBook Air and use a special 22mm x 22mm package and have a thermal envelope of only 20 watts at 1.8GHz and 1.6GHz. Typically, Intel processors running at those speeds have a TDP (Thermal Design Power) of 35 watts.

Correction: The ThinkPad X300 uses an Intel SL7100 not an SP processor. It comes in the same small package as the SP processors but runs at a lower clock speed--1.2GHz--and uses less power: 12 watts versus the SP's 20 watts.

HP Voodoo Envy
HP Voodoo Envy Voodoo

Interestingly, these processors are older 65-nanometer "Merom" processors--not the newest 45-nanometer Penryn generation. But there are updates on the way, according to Intel. "You can expect to see later this year a 45nm small form factor Montevina," an Intel representative said.

"Montevina" Centrino 2 processors coming out later this year will include low-power models such as the SL9400 and SU9400, running at 1.86GHz and 1.4GHz with a TDP of 17W and 10W respectively. One processor, the SU3300, will have a TDP of 5.5W.

New versions of the SP "small form factor" processors are also expected later this year. Future versions of the Envy and Air will likely use these Montevina processors.

This isn't where the silicon similarities end. The Envy, like the Air and X300, uses Intel X3100 integrated graphics and offers either a 64GB solid state drive or 80GB hard disk drive (4200RPM), just like the Air.

Finally, though not related to silicon, all three notebooks have a similar form factor: 13.3 inches. All in all, making for strikingly similar designs in many ways.