HP ultraportables get new Intel chips, 80GB SSD

HP has added three new ultraportables to its laptop lineup. All three have 12.
Written by John Morris, Contributor

HP has added three new ultraportables to its laptop lineup. All three have 12.1-inch wide-screen displays. Two of them, a 3.2-pound model with a built-in optical drive and a convertible tablet, are part of the new EliteBook line targeted at business users. The third is an HP Compaq model designed for bargain hunters.

Both EliteBooks, the 2530p and 2730p, will be available with Intel low-voltage and ultra low-voltage 45nm Montevina processors. This includes the low-voltage 1.60GHz Core 2 Duo SL9300 and 1.86GHz Core 2 Duo SL9400, which have 6MB of L2 cache and a 1066MHz Front-Side Bus (FSB); as well as the ultra low-voltage 1.20GHz Core 2 Duo SU9300, which has 3MB of L2 cache and an 800MHz FSB. Intel is expected to announce these any day now--possibly at IDF this week--but they are already listed in the product specs for the 2530p and 2730p. Because they will operate at a lower voltage than current mobile processors, they should provide longer battery life. HP says the 2730p will get up to 12 hours of battery life when using the optional battery slice (looks like Dell started a new trend here of quoting headline numbers for battery life based on using an extra, optional battery).

The EliteBooks will also offer a new Intel 80GB SSD option, as well as several standard hard disk drive choices. This marks Intel's entry into mainstream PC SSDs, though they already offer PATA (parallel-ATA drives) at smaller capacities for netbooks and Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs). The 80GB SSD will be available in 1.8- and 2.5-inch versions. This is important because of a catch with the 3.2-pound 2530p: It only has room for an optical drive if you select one of the 1.8-inch, drives (a 54,00rpm 80- or 120GB drive or the 80GB SSD), rather than one of the faster, larger-capacity 2.5-inch drives.

Other notable features in the EliteBooks include an LED-backlit display, more durable magnesium alloy chassis, shock-resistant hard drives (if you skip the SSD), a 2MP Webcam with an optional business card scanner, and a spill-resistant keyboard with a nightlight. Both are also available with Qualcomm's Gobi, a software-defined 3G radio that lets you switch between EV-DO and HSUPA networks by simply loading new firmware from the hard drive.

The 2530p, which replaces the 2510p, will start at about $1,500. The 2730p, which replaces 2710p, will start at $1,670. Both will be available in September.

The HP Compaq 2230s is a bit big bigger and heavier, weighing 4.1 pounds. It uses standard Core 2 Duo mobile processors ranging from the 1.8GHz Core 2 Duo T5670 to the 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo T9400. The 2230s is available immediately starting at about $1,000.

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