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HP Envy 17 scores Intel Sandy Bridge chip upgrade

Intel's swanky new Sandy Bridge architecture will makes is debut in a bevy of next-generation Core-powered portables from HP, starting with the enviable Envy 17.

Wondering how you can get ahold of a laptop with Intel's swanky new Sandy Bridge architecture? Wonder no more, friends. HP will soon release a bevy of next-generation Core-powered portables, starting with the Envy 17.

The laptop is physically pretty similar to the existing Envy 17 -- no bad thing, as the original is a bit of a looker. The new model's innards feature significant updates, however. It'll be available in a range of specs, with options including a second-generation 2GHz Intel Core i7-2630QM CPU.

This will feature Turbo Boost 2.0 technology that can dynamically increase clock speed to a whopping 2.9GHz when you open one Firefox tab too many. It'll also feature up to 6GB of RAM, a bountiful 1TB of storage and an integrated Blu-ray drive.

Graphics will come courtesy of a next-generation Intel graphics chip provided in the Sandy Bridge architecture. This should prove sufficient for most day-to-day graphics tasks while allowing for semi-decent battery life away from the mains. HP also includes a high-end AMD Mobility Radeon HD 6850M graphics adaptor that will better suit graphically demanding games.

Existing versions of the the HP Envy 17 feature active-shutter 3D graphics, so it's likely the new models will get this technology later in 2011 -- for a price. Those who want 3D graphics but don't want to pay a premium needn't fret, though. HP says it'll also make versions of the Envy 17 that include DDD's TriDef 3D Experience Ignition Game Player, which also features on the Acer Aspire 5738 3D.

Unlike systems that require expensive active-shutter glasses, this splits the image on the Envy 17's 120Hz display in two, providing a pseudo-3D effect to anyone wearing a pair of cheap polarising glasses. This will come at no extra cost, according to HP, though in our experience, it doesn't provide quite as convincing a 3D effect as systems that use active-shutter glasses.

HP is yet to confirm pricing for the HP Envy 17, but we don't expect it to come cheap. The previous model started at $1,599 (£1,025) and we'd be surprised if this thing will be available for less. Watch out for a full hands-on session from our team out in Las Vegas soon.