Intel's "breakthrough" in plastic chassis design should lead to cheaper Ultrabook laptops

The chip giant says it has discovered the means to make cheaper plastic chassis without sacrificing the rigidness and design chic of metal ones.

Recently, Intel suggested that making plastic chassis as thin and sturdy as aluminum versions would be a key way to lower the prices on Ultrabooks. Now the chip giant is saying that it has discovered the means to make such cheaper plastic chassis without sacrificing the rigidness and design chic of metal ones.

Intel has announced that it has created a concept chassis made of plastic that is "a fraction of the cost and equivalent in quality to existing machined aluminum and die cast metal solutions." According to Reuters, the new process, borrowing techniques from the aerospace and auto industries, could shave $25 to $75 off the price of Ultrabooks, which have been hindered by higher sticker prices than most mainstream laptops.

Intel calls the innovation the result of "structural reduction analysis," which Reuters describes in far simpler terms as essentially changing the layout of components like hard drives and motherboards to improve the structural strength of the plastic case. As a result, no new materials are required to gain the advantages Intel expects.

But don't look for these new plastic chassis in the very near future. Intel says that it will be sharing its discovery with laptop manufacturers, and that Ultrabooks using the new chassis design will start appearing next year after further refinement of the process.

[Via Engadget]

More Ultrabook coverage on ZDNet:

  • First peek at Intel's Ivy Bridge chips for upcoming Ultrabooks
  • Free Wi-Fi could boost Ultrabooks in business laptop market
  • Lenovo's ThinkPad X1 Carbon aims to lead corporate ultrabook charge
  • Laptop manufacturers planning cheaper clones of high-priced Ultrabooks
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