updated 04:00 pm EST, Mon January 12, 2009
Intel Budge UPortable Chip
Intel is developing a new Core 2-based processor that would bring ultraportable notebooks to non-premium prices, leaks from within the company at CES have revealed to CNET. The contacts say the processor will be faster than the Atom processors for netbooks but less expensive than the Core 2 Duo S or ultra-low voltage Core 2 Duo processors that currently inflate the prices of systems like Apple's MacBook Air and Lenovo's ThinkPad X301, which regularly start at prices of $1,800 or more.
Few technical details are available for the new chips, though they should be modified versions of the ULV Core 2 Duo parts and will have a small total package of just 22mm (0.87in) square that will let it fit into tight spaces. The power consumption of the chip is unknown, though ULV chips have a peak thermal design power use of 10W where the Core 2 Duo S uses 17W.
The Intel representatives leaking the information don't say when the processors would be available other than sometime during 2009; they also didn't say whether the chip is a special commission for a particular computer maker or a standard production model.
The introduction of a new mid-grade class of chip is potentially important to Intel, which encountered a rare defeat at CES when AMD introduced the Athlon Neo. The chip and its platform currently give HP's new dv2 notebook a small screen and thin dimensions at $699 without having to resort to slow netbook-level chips. Intel has also inadvertently hurt its own profit margins with the success of Atom chips in netbooks as the components make less money per sale than any of the company's other processors.