Intel introducing Core i5, faster Core i7 ULV processors for ultra-portable laptops soon?

Intel introducing Core i5, faster Core i7 ULV processors for ultra-portable laptops soon?

Summary: If ultra-thin laptops are going to move to the mainstream and do more than elicit "oohs" and "aahs" at how slim they are, they must continue to improve their performance. Svelte style is all well and good until you can't do what you need to do because your laptop doesn't have the horsepower for serious work.

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If ultra-thin laptops are going to move to the mainstream and do more than elicit "oohs" and "aahs" at how slim they are, they must continue to improve their performance. Svelte style is all well and good until you can't do what you need to do because your laptop doesn't have the horsepower for serious work. Intel has started introducing its Core i7 ULV (ultra-low voltage) mobile processors that a few portables are becoming equipped with (like the Fujitsu LifeBook P770), and now rumors are surfacing that it plans to expand these offerings in the coming months.

Currently, the i7-620UM and the i7-640UM are available, running at 1.06GHz and 1.2GHz, respectively. But it looks like Intel will add a faster processor in summer and then another in the fall, both of which will be able to reach speeds of 2.4GHz and 2.53GHz when using the Turbo Boost mode. Can that be enough oomph to provide solid, everyday performance while keeping battery life in the several-hours range?

Needless to say, those new i7 CPUs will help to keep the high prices affixed to the super-slim systems using them (the LifeBook P770, for instance, costs over $1,500 at Buy.com) However, the chip giant also appears to be readying a Core i5 ULV part in the next couple of months, which will provide lesser performance than its i7 siblings, but could lead to sub-$1,000 price on these laptops. MSI has already told Engadget that the i5-520UM will be featured in its X360 by June, and the system will cost between $700-$900.

If machines like the X360 and Acer's new TimelineX series can deliver performance comparable to bigger laptops in their price range (and not like their Core 2 Solo and Core 2 Duo ULV predecessors), there may be hope for ultra-portables yet. Would a 12- or 13-inch laptop under an inch thick, less than $1,000, and freed from being underpowered entice you to buy one? Let us know in the TalkBack section.

Topics: Processors, Hardware, Intel, Laptops, Mobility

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Talkback

10 comments
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  • A good CPU is only as worthy as the OS running on it

    Any flavor of Linux and OS X instantly prove that while a fast processor will deliver near-miracles, a lot of CPU cycles are not being wasted by them.

    This scenario is most prevalent on netbooks running Windows 7. Replace it with... anything... and all sluggishness vanishes.

    Sad.
    HypnoToad72
    • definitely would love to have linux preloaded

      Windows have become too power hungry and bloated. Give me XP (incl. look and feel) but with the security enhancements of Win7. Hate the (supposedly) UI enhancements from Vista onwards (incl. Win 7).
      zzz1234567890
  • RE: Intel introducing Core i5, faster Core i7 ULV processors for ultra-portable laptops soon?

    A laptop thats

    1. Silent notebook.
    How about a laptop that is silent while operating (no processor fan noise and with an SSD so there's no noise of the hard disk spinning).

    2. A full HD resolution display
    (13" display full HDD resolution would be my choice)

    3. A nice high quality keyboard.
    zzz1234567890
    • Sony VAIO VPCZ1

      It is Sony VAIO VPCZ1 series laptops.
      wonder202
  • yeah, whatever

    no interest in linux.
    FADS_z
  • thin is only one dimension

    I just ordered a custom Toshiba U500 13.3" to replace my aging Twinhead 12.1". I wanted another 12.1", but the only units I found that offered all the functionality of my older unit had ridiculous price tags. Even with RAM, HD & OS upgrades, my Twinhead cost me under $1,000, and the Toshiba will cost close to $1,400 with comparible functionality (and slightly more horsepower). And I bemoan the additional half-pound I will carry. (FYI- Asus came close, but their latest has NO way to connect an eSATA drive for backup!)

    When I travel, essentially my entire office is dangling from my shoulder. Neither netbooks, nor the feature stripped 'ultrathin' units do it. Yes ounces count when you dash across airports only to stand in lines - but so does functionality. I know they CAN build all the bells & whistles in a compact, 4 pound PC, and do it at a good price. But the PC industry seems to have abandoned us 'complete office on the go' road warriors.
    Jim Johnson
  • What for?

    Why would you need a screaming processor on an ultrathin laptop unless it is your only machine? Geez! Do you spend all your time at McDonalds playing whatever the most sluggish game is out there now? If you're going to be doing major computing (molecular orbital calculations, atomic bomb simulations, or real-time animation on the order of Avatar) do it on a PC back in your office with all the horsepower you can get, and control it through a VNC link if you need to.

    On a plain old HP dm3-1030us (AMD Neo-X2 L355 processor), I do just fine (OK, I don't care for the touchpad). Running Firefox with a dozen or so windows open, MS Word and Excel, a MySQL database, Apache2 (local) and PHP for my database interface, and the normal bunch of programs in the background, it keeps up without any problem. Perhaps it's because I'm not a 300 wpm touch-typist, or sometimes I have to think a little between tasks. But if you ask me (and you did, there's that "What do you think?" in red up there), rating portable computers on video encoding and running graphics-intense games is ridiculous unless they are specialty machines for what has to be a niche population. Doesn't anyone in computer magazine/e-zine world also live in the real world?
    cd2_z
  • RE: Intel introducing Core i5, faster Core i7 ULV processors for ultra-portable laptops soon?

    How old is the article? It seems like Apple is already shipping this item in it's 15" and 17" MacBook Pro series...
    douglas@...
    • Ultra-portables are

      I think the only UP that Apple sells is the Macbook Air. Am I thinking right?
      Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: Intel introducing Core i5, faster Core i7 ULV processors for ultra-portable laptops soon?

        @goff256 Nope ... The macbook air uses a special 1.86 or 2.13 core2 duo. The macbook pro 15 inch has the option of a regular i5 or i7 and the 17 inch has the i5. The 13 inch macbook pro doesn't have the option of an i5. None of the i5 or i7 chips are the new, ULV variant discussed in this article.
        crescentdave