Intel announces new ultrathin laptop chips

Chipmaker's low-voltage Core processors, based on 32-nanometer technology, arrive for ultrathin laptops targeted at average consumers.

Brooke Crothers Former CNET contributor
Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.
Brooke Crothers
2 min read

Intel on Monday introduced new low-voltage Core processors for the ultrathin laptop segment.

Intel-based ultrathin laptop. Intel

The laptop designs in this segment have been symbolized to date by the less-than-one-inch-thick Apple MacBook Air and Dell Adamo--which use Intel processors that draw relatively little power compared with standard mobile processors. But those are pricey, luxury notebooks beyond the price range that Intel is targeting with the newest processors.

"It will fit the consumer system price point. Very affordable systems," Mooly Eden, vice president and general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel, said during a video conference Monday morning. Though Eden refrained from citing specific prices, the consumer laptop segment typically ranges from about $500 to $1,000 for systems with screen sizes between 13 inches and 15 inches diagonally.

Asus, Gateway, and Acer already have systems ready for launch, Eden said. Eventually all major PC makers will bring out laptops based on these processors, he added. A slide during Eden's presentation listed the Acer Aspire 1830, Gateway EC39, Asus UL80, Lenovo U160, and MSI X350 as upcoming systems. Systems will be available from some vendors starting next month.

The processors announced Monday include the Core i3-330UM (1.2GHz), Core i5-540UM (1.2GHz), Core i7-660UM (1.33GHz), and Pentium U5400 (1.2GHz). One of the distinguishing features of these processors is the chip's package size, which is 32 percent smaller than standard processor packages, according to Eden.

The new chips expand an existing line of ultra-low-power processors. For example, Intel has been shipping the Core 2 Duo SU9400 since the third quarter of 2008 and the Core I7-620UM since the first quarter of this year.

Updated throughout at 9:50 a.m. PDT.