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Lenovo adds Thunderbolt to ThinkPad Edge for CES 2012

A sleeker high-end ThinkPad Edge with Thunderbolt joins Lenovo's midrange small-business laptops.

One of the added benefits to the next generation of Intel Ivy Bridge processors coming later this year is its native support of Thunderbolt. The newly announced high-end ThinkPad Edge S430 will feature Thunderbolt as one of a bevy of extra features aimed at taking this middle-range small business line of laptops up a notch.

The ThinkPad Edge S430.
The ThinkPad Edge S430. Lenovo

It's unclear whether it will feature Ivy Bridge, but considering that the new CPUs will release in June, coinciding with the S430's release, we can guess that it's likely that the S430 will feature the new Intel processors.

The Edge S430 doesn't look particularly striking, but Lenovo promises metal accents and a soft-touch finish that might make holding it more impressive. Besides having "the latest Intel Core processors," additional options will include an optical drive or, alternatively, a second hard drive, and Nvidia Optimus graphics. The Edge S430 will start at $749.

Also updated are the ThinkPad Edge E430 and E530, 14 and 15-inch versions of the Edge series of laptops that won't be Thunderbolt-equipped. These budget-range models will be available in either Intel Core i-series or AMD Fusion flavors, much like last year's Edge laptops, along with optional discrete graphics, USB 3.0, an HD Web cam, and solid-state drive storage options. The color scheme has been expanded, too: you can now have one in red, black, or blue. Starting prices are expected to be around $549.

Last but not least, the surprisingly affordable Essential B series, which CNET reviewed favorably last year, will receive a small boost to new Intel Core processors as well. These laptops will start as low as $399, although it's not clear what comes in that entry-level package.

The new Edge E430 and E530 laptops and Essential B Series will be available in April, and the ThinkPad Edge S430 will be available in June. Click above to look at photos of all models and colors.