Copper isn't just for processors at IBM
Now it's going into ultra-high-resolution liquid crystal displays for Big Blue's notebooks.
IBM rolled out a top-of-the-line ThinkPad 770 today with a new type of
screen that boosts image resolution without increasing weight or power
consumption. The screens measure 13.7 inches, but provides a resolution of
1280-by-1024 pixels, typically the resolution found on large 17- and
21-inch CRT displays.
Cutting-edge 14-inch notebook displays from other vendors top out at a
resolution of 1024 by 768.
The company also came out with a new ThinkPad 600 with improved power
management capabilities and a 300-MHz Pentium II.
The boost in screen performance comes largely from a shift to copper, said
Leo Suarez, director of product marketing for mobile computers at IBM.
Rather than use molybdenum and tungsten wires to conduct electricity in the
screen, IBM's new SXVA display relies upon copper and aluminum. More copper
and aluminum wires can be packed into a given screen, he said, which means
greater image density.
The viewing experience is "probably like a 17-inch monitor," Suarez added.
Copper and aluminum wiring is also cheaper, a benefit to manufacturers, and
conducts electricity better than the older metals, which could improve
battery life. Although currently only available on select ThinkPad 770x
models, IBM wants to spread the technology to the slim ThinkPad 600 and 560
lines and even the budget ThinkPad 380s.
Other manufacturers, such as Dell are
trying to improve the viewing experience by increasing the viewing area of
the screen to 15 inches, but this hurts battery life and portability, Suarez
"We're in the mobile business," he said, taking a jab at Dell. "We're
not in the luggable business or the pizza box business."
But the screen isn't cheap. A ThinkPad 770X with a 300-MHz Pentium II, an
8GB hard drive, and 64MB of memory sells for $5,399. The 770X, and a
similar 770 with a standard screen, also both support the Accelerated
Graphics Port (AGP), which is coming to notebooks now that Intel has released an AGP-compliant chip
IBM also released the ThinkPad 600E today. The new notebook improves the
power management capabilities for ThinkPads running Windows NT 4.0. The
notebook starts at $4,599 and comes with a 13.3-inch screen, an 8GB drive,
and a 300-MHz Pentium II.