Intel to bring out chip for lower-cost thin laptops

Chipmaker plans to bring out a new processor later this year for low-cost ultra-thin laptops.

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

Intel will bring out a new Core-architecture processor for lower-cost ultra-thin laptops later this year, according to Intel sources at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

22-millimeter packaging used in the MacBook Air
22-millimeter packaging used in the MacBook Air Intel

The processors will distinguish themselves by targeting a price segment below pricey ultra-portables, which typically start at around $1,500 and range all the way up to $3,000--and higher in some cases. The processors will not compete with the Atom processor that powers Netbooks, which usually top out at $500.

In this sense, the new chips will be comparable to Advanced Micro Devices' recently announced Athlon Neo processor for ultra-thin laptops priced between $700 and $900.

The processor is "going to enable notebooks that are less than one inch (25mm)," according to the sources. The architecture will be a "tweak" of Intel's existing ULV (Ultra-Low-Voltage) processors, said the sources.

Current ULV Core 2 Duo mobile processors, such as the SU9300 and SU9400, have a power envelope (Thermal Design Power or TDP) of 10 watts, much lower than standard Intel mobile Core 2 Duo processors that have a TDP of between 25W and 35W.

ULV processors are used, for example, in ultraportables such as the Toshiba Portege R600 and Sony Vaio TT. Both are ultrathin high-priced boutique ultra-portables, starting at about $2,000.

Intel also offers SL series low-power mobile Core processors with a TDP of 17 watts.

The package size of the new processors will be 22 millimeters by 22 millimeters, according to the sources.