Intel Rolls Out New Core Chips for 'Ultrabooks'

Intel has three new low-voltage chips on its price list that look to power its new "ultrabook" category of mobile computers.

Intel reportedly is offering three new low-voltage Core processors designed to power the new category of laptops that the chip giant has dubbed "ultrabooks."

The new dual-core chips-the 1.7GHz Core i5-2557M, 1.7GHz Core i7-2637M and 1.8GHz Core i7-2677M-showed up on the Intel chip price list over the weekend, and all run at lower frequencies and have lower power draws than standard Core chips based on Intel's "Sandy Bridge" architecture. Both the 15-2557M and i7-2647M run at 1.7GHz; the i7-2677M runs at 1.8GHz. All use about 17 watts of power, about half of what the mainstream Sandy Core processors use.

Intel introduced the ultrabook concept during a speech by its Executive Vice President Sean Maloney during the Computex 2011 show in Taiwan. Maloney described ultrabooks as extremely thin and light devices that have the performance and capabilities of traditional notebooks with features found in the increasingly popular tablets, including high responsiveness. It also could mean touch-screens in later devices, according to an Intel spokesperson.

Intel officials envision the ultrabooks to come in at less than 0.8 inches thick and at prices lower than $1,000. By the end of 2012, Maloney said he expects that 40 percent of notebooks shipped will fall into the ultrabook category

Intel is aggressively pushing into the mobile space with low-power Core processors and its Atom platform. A key step in the ultrabook rollout will be with the next generation of Intel's Sandy Bridge architecture, dubbed "Ivy Bridge." Those chips will be the first to feature Intel's new Tri-Gate transistor technology, which is designed to increase performance and drive down power consumption in chips. The 22-nm Ivy Bridge chips will begin appearing in PCs and servers in the first half of 2012, and in other devices-including tablets and smartphones-after that, according to Intel officials.

That will be followed by "Haswell" in 2013, which will be the follow-on to Ivy Bridge and will offer greater energy efficiency, reducing power consumption by half of what it is today, according to company officials.

Already some OEMs are lining up behind the ultrabook concept. At Computex, Asus Chairman Jonney Shih took the stage with Maloney to show off the company's new UX21 ultrabook, which will be based on Intel Core processors. The UX21, which will ship in the fall, reportedly will have an 11.6-inch display, be about 0.7 inches thick and weight about 3.3 pounds.

Also at Computex, Lenovo-with its IdeaPad U300S-and LG Electronics-with its P220-put ultrabooks on display. Both reportedly had 12.5-inch displays.

Acer President Jim Wong said the company also will roll out an ultrabook, reportedly adding that "can help revive the notebook market," which continues to see solid growth in the commercial space but is suffering from slower consumer sales due to several factors, including the rise of tablets and last year's release of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system.