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Can Intel prime the ultra-thin laptop pump?

Intel's move to extend its Core processor family more into ultra-thin laptops is likely to bring more of those devices to market at lower prices.

Intel's move to extend its Core processor family more into ultra-thin laptops is likely to bring more of those devices to market at lower prices.

The chip giant said Monday it is extending its Core processor family to ultra-thin laptops in a move to increase performance and give users "faster response times and less waiting."

John Morris has all the details, but the big win here is that ultra-low voltage (ULV) chip prices will be lower as Intel looks to head off AMD's ULV platform at the pass. Simply put, there will be multiple new ULV models hitting the market at once with a focus on the consumer. Intel said it has 40 design wins for its Core ULV processors (statement). AMD's upcoming Nile platform has 26.

That selection will be welcome. To date, ULVs have been a bit pricey for the performance and sales show it. Now Intel's price cuts on its Core ULV lines may lower the price of entry for business ULVs.

Gallery:

Intel promises ultra-thin laptops (photos)

In addition, all of Intel's ULV processors will support Turbo Boost, which Intel claims will boost performance for certain applications.

Morris writes:

All ULV processors now support the new features in Westmere such as Turbo Boost, which [Intel] claimed works particularly well in ultrathins. He said the 1.33GHz Core i7-660UM will be capable of operating at speeds as high as 2.4GHz when working on certain applications. Overall the 32nm ULV processors deliver 35 to 40 percent better performance and double the graphics performance of the previous generation, which Intel said will make a noticeable difference on real-world applications such as Microsoft Office 2010 and Google’s Picasa.

Anyone who has played with an ultra-thin laptop---a device between 2 and 5 pounds---loves the sleek feeling, but gets hit with a performance dip. And at high prices for a business ULV you notice the performance hit more. I noted the performance drop off when I tested Dell's Latitude Z. It's was a bit like a Ferrari with a four-cylinder engine. In other words, anything that boosts performance for real-world apps will be helpful.