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Intel Unveils Next Generation Processors For Thinner, Lighter Laptops

Gordon Kelly


Intel Unveils Next Generation CPUs For Thinner, Lighter Laptops

Think the Dell Adamo XPS was thin? You ain't seen nothin' yet...

Today Intel has announced the release of its next generation 32nm Core processors two years after it shifted to 45nm and the result is new i3, i5 and i7 CPUs which Intel claims will deliver "32 percent slimmer laptops and more than 32 percent better performance."

In practice this leads Intel to claims of mainstream laptops which push MacBook Air dimensions with sub 1Kg weights.

"Consumers crave laptops that offer style and performance, and the new 2010 Intel Core Ultra-Low Voltage processors for ultra-thin laptops delivers both, in one sleek design,” said Mooly Eden, VP and general manager of Intel's PC Client Group. "Intel’s leadership in 32nm high-k metal gate process technology, combined with breakthrough architecture and design has enabled thinner, lighter and faster notebooks than previous models, with terrific battery life. Not only are laptops becoming ultraportable, but with the new processors inside, users will see faster response times and less waiting."

The statement is somewhat preachy, but Eden does have a point - AMD isn't scheduled to have 32nm processors out until mid/late 2011, despite that $1.25bn compensation cheque and five year cross licensing agreement.

Interestingly Intel has also announced the Mobile Intel 5 Series chipset for ULV laptops - a category we have long preferred to netbooks. It promises improved audio and video options, enhanced data and PC protection with Intel's 'Anti-Theft Technology'.

Naturally enough more manufacturers are leaping over one another to build machines based around the new chips with Intel quoting more than 40 design wins from the likes of Acer, Asus, Lenovo and MSI and we can't imagine Apple, Dell and HP will be far behind.

And yes, it's never a good time to buy a laptop...

In related news Intel has also confirmed it will make dedicated tablet orientated processors from June. The move may well be an attempt to grasp onto a sector which is currently threatened by ARM-based chipsets such as the Apple A4 chip used in the iPad.

Link: Intel 32nm Processors Release


May 25, 2010, 12:28 pm

Any idea when these will be available ? I'm thinking of a 12" / 13" laptop that must be capable of playing HD video easily. These sound like something I should be waiting for.

Btw - Are the forums coming back up ? Only tried to use them yesterday and they've been closed since then.


May 25, 2010, 1:42 pm

There loads of laptops that can play HD video easily. Try any CULV laptop on the market right now - they can handle 1080P flash / blu ray etc. Basically anything that isn't an atom will do that.


May 25, 2010, 1:43 pm

3x32 32NM 32% faster 32% thinner labtop possible. Might be the reason why Apple did not update the Macbook Air when the did the others.


May 25, 2010, 2:16 pm

I'm getting hacked off with this obsession about thin and light. A notebook can actually be unusable if it's not sturdy enough to sit comfortably on your lap for example. If it's too thin, then you can bet on a poor keyboard as the keys have less space to travel.

Having owned one of the new VAIO X series machines that was ridiculously light and thin, I actually appreciate my new Z series a lot more because the X was close to being impractical.


May 25, 2010, 2:21 pm

One of these, a HHD, Ion2 and a 10/11 inch screen = my new laptop :)

I would like to see these for the desktop to. Processors are in many ways fast enough (Please don't kill me) and getting the power consumption down on desktops would be great.


May 25, 2010, 2:22 pm

@Andy - I'm not sure it's that easy. My impression is that there are lot of smaller laptops (that don't cost the earth) that still struggle to play HD well.

The new intelligent video switching (forgotten the buzzword name for it) looks a nice to have too and these processors using less power and being more powerful are surely worth waiting for if they are close to launch.

Best laptop I've seen so far is the 13" Sony that TR reviewed a few weeks ago, but that's at the top of the price range I wanted to spend. Wonder if that will get an update with this new tech ?


May 25, 2010, 5:35 pm

@Steve: These processors don't have to be used exclusively in impractical ultraportables like the Sony X. Any sensibly sized laptop can benefit from reduced bulk and longer battery life. Surely that can only be a good thing?


May 25, 2010, 6:07 pm

@ Chris

Sure, I agree. But this obsession with waif-like machines is getting a bit silly. Dell sent me a Latitude 13 a few weeks ago to play with. It was incredibly well made for a Dell, but it was so thin, the palmrest became uncomfortably warm after about 30 mins use (can blame the HDD for this). The CPU was houses a few millimetres under the keyboard and the keys also became very warm leading to a strange typing experience.

My VAIO Z is very thin but Sony do a good job with the heat issue. It uses a SSD (3x64GB) so it doesn't heat up and get to silly temperatures like mechanical drives do and the i5 CPU's run very cool nearly all the time.

I just wish the industry would stop fixing the prices of SSD's. A notebook with a state of the art CPU is limited with a hard drive that uses tech from the stone-age.


May 25, 2010, 8:45 pm

@Steve: Yeah, I can imagine that laptop designs are often compromised in their quest for thinness. However, I would characterise the Latitude issues that you describe as design faults. They're a product of a flawed design, rather than a considered compromise that Dell may have chosen to make. In an ideal world, a thin laptop would have none of these faults, and your Vaio Z comes as close as anything to achieving this lofty goal. However, design like that comes at a steep price.

The good news is that this latest batch of processors will allow manufacturers to create thinner and lighter laptops without having to resort to the kind of measures Sony took with the Vaio Z. No huge R&D budgets required, no exotic materials or construction methods and no proprietary RAID SSDs. Hopefully this means cheaper, thinner laptops without the characteristic design flaws and compromises. I'd say that's cause for celebration. Maybe cake.

And yes, SSD prices are starting to look a bit fishy.


May 26, 2010, 2:34 am

@ AJ ; my HP tm2 with a SU4100 and when runnimg on intergrated graphics begs to differ! Note whilst my laptop costs £700 you can get the same internals for about £500 in an acer timeline for example. By the way if you are looking for a thin and light I recommend the acer timeline 4810TZG (not the new X series as they are so expensive!). Dad got one of these a few months ago - very fast and absolute steal at £500.

Basically what I am trying to say is that whilst these new core i's are nice you will have to pay a lot more for them (about £200 - judging from the timeline price hike) when in fact the old CULV's are more than suitable for your needs and therefore you could save a not insignificant sum of money.


May 26, 2010, 1:23 pm

@Andy. Thanks for that, the 4810TZG looks potentially interesting. It it slightly bigger than I wanted though, not sure if it has a HDMI port, but sure it will and easy to check. HDMI is essential (and pretty much standard now).

No great rush just yet so plenty of time to see how much this new tech costs and when it's coming out.

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