Intel launches first Sandy Bridge chips for Ultrabooks

Intel launches first Sandy Bridge chips for Ultrabooks

Summary: Intel has released new low-voltage versions of its second-generation Core processors designed to power a new class of so-called Ultrabooks from the likes of Asus, Lenovo and LG Electronics.


Intel has released new low-voltage versions of its second-generation Core processors designed to power a new class of so-called Ultrabooks. The first Ultrabooks, from companies such as Asus, Lenovo and LG Electronics, promise to combine the performance of full-fledged Sandy Bridge systems with the portability and long battery life of ultra-thin laptops and netbooks.

The key difference between these new chips and the existing Sandy Bridge processors is that they run at slower frequencies (though they can reach much faster speeds with Turbo Boost) and have a power rating of 17 watts, compared with 35 watts for the standard Sandy Bridge processors. The three new processors--all dual-cores with the same on-die graphics--include the 1.7GHz Core i5-2557M, 1.7GHz Core i7-2637M and 1.8GHz Core i7-2677M. The Core i7 versions have a larger L3 cache and faster Turbo modes.

When it announced the Ultrabook concept at the Computex trade show in Taiwan earlier this month, Intel said the first models would be "no-compromises" notebooks that measure less than 0.8 inches thick and cost less than $1,000. The first model, the Asus UX21, will have an 11.6-inch display, an aluminum-alloy case that measures 0.7 inches at its thickest point and weighs 2.2 pounds and a 64- or 128GB solid-state drive that can resume from sleep within a couple seconds. So far Asus hasn't said much else about the UX Series, though it will reportedly ship in September. Two other Ultrabooks design exhibited at Computex, the Lenovo IdeaPad U300S and LG P220, both of which use a 12.5-inch display, also looked very nice.

Both the Apple MacBook Air and Samsung Series 9 are similar in design to Ultrabooks. But the MacBook Air still uses an older Core 2 Duo processor and the Series 9 uses a slower Core i5-2537M. It would not be surprising to see those models upgraded to use the new low-voltage Sandy Bridge chips (there are rumors that a MacBook Air update is just around the corner).

The low-voltage Sandy Bridges are just the first step in the development of Ultrabooks. Next year Intel will release Ivy Bridge, its first 22nm processors, followed in early 2013 by Haswell, a new microarchitecture. At that point even Intel's mainstream laptop processors will have lower power rating of around 15 watts and Ultrabooks should be commonplace. Intel has predicted that by the end of next year Ultrabooks could account for roughly 40 percent of all laptops sold.

Topics: Intel, Hardware, Processors

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  • It is not 'new class'; first boxless ULV Intel's chip were produced ...

    ... specifically for MacBook Air by Apple's Steven Jobs' request in late 1997 (the "ultrabook" debuted early 1998 by Jobs with Intel's Otellini's on stage telling the story).
    • RE: Intel launches first Sandy Bridge chips for Ultrabooks

      Dude. Denisrs. Give it a rest. Apple had its proprietary chip and it nearly got killed before the intel chip gave it new life. They had plenty of chances to take over. They failed. Napster failing was their golden fleece.
  • RE: Intel launches first Sandy Bridge chips for Ultrabooks

    The fact Intel are claiming these have the "attributes of a tablet" clearly show, Intel don't get tablets.

    These are clearly slim laptops (with the size of netbooks). There's nothing wrong with super slim laptops but tablets replacements they are not.

    The simplicity and reduced nature of tablets is a plus, not a minus.

    As nice as these slim laptops look, they don't interest me. When I next buy a laptop (when Win8 ships) I'd want a laptop with DVD drive and a hard drive SSDs don't reach to.
    • RE: Intel launches first Sandy Bridge chips for Ultrabooks

      I think you might be reading way more into that advertising slogon than is intended. I think Intel is talking about thin, responsive, light and (comparitively) long battery life as being some attributes of tablets. They are clearly touting these as full on no compromise notebooks. Further, they are working on Atom based SoC specifically to address tablet offerings ... Medfield
    • RE: Intel launches first Sandy Bridge chips for Ultrabooks

      @bradavon tablets are their own thing and as of right now is not a laptop replacement.

      some people, like me, love the keyboard and the power and usability of laptops. To me, tablets are nothing but internet surfing devices. Some of us program, edit videos, amongst other things.

      While I respect the usefulness of tablets, I really like the idea of having more and more power squeezed into a thinner and smaller laptop style devices.
  • RE: Intel launches first Sandy Bridge chips for Ultrabooks

    What? 17 Watts? That is really some nerve. I hope that anyone reading this tripe doesn't fall for the Okeydoke.

    Sure that kind of performance wrapped in an 17 Watt power envelope is great for the ultra portable class of laptops. But the total power budget even for a large 10.1" tablet is less than 10 Watts for the WHOLE system.
    • That is the reason window tablets didn't fly

      17w for cpu only. No wonder MS want try ARM.
      • RE: Intel launches first Sandy Bridge chips for Ultrabooks

        @FADS_z Its a trade-off. Less performance, less power. A 4 core sandy bridge running at 1.8 with hyper threading (looks like 8 cores) jumping to 2.4 Ghz in Turbo. Running full blown OSes like Linux or Windows, instead of a cut down mobile platform. 64 bit addressing. Way more memory. Way more storage. Potentially faster graphics. More connection options. And still tons of battery life (10 hrs +)
    • Doesn't matter as long as the lifetime is sufficient

      @charles@... Consider. 128Gs of storage. Larger screen. More peripheral support. More speed. Better multi-tasking More memory (64 bit). And 10 hrs of battery life. And more choices of OS. Keyboard.
  • has possibilities

    But cost is what will count. You need a good laptop for under $400 and it will win market share.
    Tablets are a fad. Granted that Apple is seeling lots of iPads, but the owners I know play games on them. Or simply consider them a cool gadget.
    Like it or not, you need flash and Steve just ain't gonna have that on his beloved iPad.
    Ultrabooks, at the right price, will sell.
  • RE: Intel launches first Sandy Bridge chips for Ultrabooks

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