Super-slim MSI X340, Intel CULV coming this month

Super-slim MSI X340, Intel CULV coming this month

Summary: Intel hasn't made any secret of its plans to release ultra low-voltage chips for relatively inexpensive, ultra-thin consumer notebooks. In last week's earnings call, CEO Paul Otellini said the company looked forward to the "new consumer ultra low voltage products which will enable many new thing and light notebooks at very compelling price points.

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Intel hasn't made any secret of its plans to release ultra low-voltage chips for relatively inexpensive, ultra-thin consumer notebooks. In last week's earnings call, CEO Paul Otellini said the company looked forward to the "new consumer ultra low voltage products which will enable many new thing and light notebooks at very compelling price points." But Intel hasn't said exactly when these CULV processors will ship.

If MSI's product plans are any indication, it should be very soon. MSI has confirmed that the X-Slim X340, which the company claims will be the first notebook to use the CULV chip, will be available this month. The X340 is a 13-inch ultraportable will be based on a 1.4GHz Core 2 Solo SU3500 (Penryn) processor that draws a maximum of 5.5 watts. (Interestingly, Intel's product database lists the SU3500 as a launched product.)

I got a quick look at the CTIA Wireless earlier this month, and the design is compelling. It measures just 0.8 inches at its thickest point, and weighs 2.9 pounds with a four-cell battery. It will be interesting to see how much battery life MSI can squeeze out of the small battery using the CULV platform.

MSI says it plans to release additional X340 configurations based on additional Core 2 Solo and Celeron M CULV processors, as well as X-Slim series laptops based on different display sizes. Though the company hasn't announced pricing, many reports have put the X340 between $700 and $1,000 depending on the configuration (the list price for the SU3500 chip is $262). HP, Dell and Acer are also expected to release CULV-based ultraportables with displays up to 13.3 inches.

Intel's CULV processors are designed to compete directly with AMD's Athlon Neo, a single-core chip used in the new HP Pavilion dv2z. These systems will also offer a good alternative to netbooks, which cost a few hundred dollars less, but have smaller displays and less powerful Atom processors.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Intel, Mobility, Networking, Processors

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  • I just saw a demo model of the MSI X340

    at my friendly PC shop here in southern Taiwan.
    It's ultralight, but I wouldn't call it
    ultraportable: 13.3 inches is too wide for me.
    Not to carry it around in my backpack, no, but
    to set it up at my local sidewalk cafe. The
    tables there are quite small.

    It came with 2 GB of RAM, a SATA 250-GB HDD,
    Windows Vista, and even MS Office 2007. I'm not
    sure whether the MS Office was strictly to show
    off the notebook's speed and power or whether
    it's one of the programs that MSI is loading to
    justify the high price. I can't say that the
    aesthetics of the machine move me at all. I
    couldn't care less. I'm a PC, not a Mac. But the
    speed with which that 1.4-GHz CPU handled Office
    and Vista was impressive.

    The high-end model, with a 1.6-GHz CPU and a
    SATA 360-GB HDD, will retail for NT$33,900
    (US$1007 or 766 Euro at today's rates) and the
    low-end model for NT$26,900 (US$799 or 608
    Euro). The Macbook Air goes for US$1000.

    The Asus Eee PC 1000HE, with a 10-inch screen, a
    1.6 GHz Atom, a 160-GB HDD, and 2 GB of RAM
    (I've already got a 2-GB SIMM for my old Eee PC
    1000H) will cost me only NT$14,500 (US$431 or
    328 Euro). About half the price. I'm quite used
    to the 10-inch screen and find the Eee PC a
    pleasure to work on because it's the perfect
    size for mobility -- for me, anyway.

    I'm not going to spring for the MSI X340. Too
    big and too expensive.

    I am going to test Windows 7 Ultimate, the RC
    that'll be downloadable on May 5th, on my
    current Eee PC 1000H, however, just to see
    whether it has any problems on that
    architecture. If it doesn't, I'll stick with
    Asus and the Eee PC and upgrade to Win7 Home
    Premium or Business when I get a new one. If it
    does, I'll get a regular Asus notebook with at
    least a Core2 Duo and 4 GB of RAM and just
    resign myself to having to lug the extra weight
    around if I want more speed and power than my
    current netbook provides.
    billfranke