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Intel Portables Hardware

Intel Details New Ultrabook Reference Designs 186

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the smaller-is-better dept.
MojoKid writes "Earlier this year, Intel unveiled its plan to redefine the concept of a PC around an ultra thin-and-light chassis reminiscent of the Macbook Air and with a standard CPU TDP of just 15W. Intel has unveiled the reference specs for ultra-notebook products they're calling 'Ultrabooks.' The cheaper ultra-notebook model will be 21mm thick with a BOM (bill of materials) between $475-650. A second, thinner model (18mm thick) will have a BOM between $493-710. Unlike netbooks, Ultrabooks will target the full range of consumer notebooks with screen sizes ranging from 11-17 inches. Reports are surfacing that the new systems will eschew the use of module-based components in favor of directly soldering certain components to the motherboard. Other findings indicated that Intel and its partners have researched alternatives to an aluminum-based chassis with materials like fiberglass expected to dominate the segment."
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Intel Details New Ultrabook Reference Designs

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  • What exactly is "standard CPU TDP"? My 4+ year or thinkpad T61 has a (total, not just CPU) TDP of about 15W during light use.
    • by Vectormatic (1759674) on Monday August 08, 2011 @10:11AM (#37021660)

      TDP = Thermal Design Power, as in the maximal power usage it is designed for.

      Your T61 might have a power usage of 15W, but the cpu TDP for various T61 is around 35 W

      • Hate to sound like Abe Simpson, but two things, one nit and one biggie:

        The nit: TDP = thermal design POINT. There are many things that need to be considered at this point: power, performance, temperature, current...

        The biggie: TDP power isn't maximum power, that is the entire reason why Intel started specing TDP values in 1995: the maximum power required a monster heatsink, and only a tiny %age of applications even get close to max power. Why force chassis designers to handle a huge theoretical peak

        • oops, nit in my post: i don't think it was 1995, i think they must have started spec'ing TDP with P4 because the processors couldn't do anything about it except shut off, so why spec it? forgot when p4 launched, but that's probably the right time.
    • by amn108 (1231606)

      That's good mileage! As for standard CPU TDP, who knows. Are you sarcastic? TDP is the wattage ceiling, and I am sure what they said is some marketing drone speak. It probably means a CPU with 15 watts of TDP, period. Your Intel Core Duo Txxxx has probably 25 watts TDP, for comparison.

      • Actually, (most?) T-Series Core2Duo (like the T7100/7300 and so on in the Thinkpad T61) are 35W CPUs. The newer P-XXXX Core2Duos are 25W...

        As for 15W total power consumption during light usage... the ones with Intel integrated graphics drop that down to below 10W. :)

    • by Alkonaut (604183)
      Mine draws zero watts when it is switched off. How is that related to Thermal Design Power? "TDP" and power draw during "Light use" are two different things
  • by vlm (69642) on Monday August 08, 2011 @09:58AM (#37021490)

    So... to help filter past the marketing filters:

    laptop - dvd drive = netbook

    netbook - plastic case + fiberglass case = ultrabook

    "general public" who ignore the marketing materials, like my wife and sister in law, continue to refer to any clamshell design with a keyboard as a "laptop".

    • by Amouth (879122) on Monday August 08, 2011 @10:27AM (#37021860)

      laptop - dvd drive = netbook

      that i don't agree with, netbook in my idea is a sub class of laptop that has enough processing power to consume but not enough to effectively create.

      aka you can browse the web and watch video - but really comping,encoding, or in general heavy work just isn't going to be exceptable.

      to me
      laptop - dvd drive = most "ultra light" laptop/notebooks

      you can get an i7 in a 2.2lbs x220, there is no optical drive, and it surly isn't a "netbook"

      • by vlm (69642)

        has enough processing power to consume but not enough to effectively create

        Why? Anyone in the biz for more than 2 years was using less "power" to create 2 years ago, perfectly acceptably. And certainly nothing has changed since then.

        Anyone with a longer than, say, 2 years upgrade cycle, would find the netbook specs to be an upgrade over their present full size laptop...

        • Yes, exactly. SO tired of the 'we must protect our holy workstations by disparaging anything with lesser power as being unsuitable for anything but consumption". Hell im using some older Dell D series laptops as cheap servers.
          • by gman003 (1693318)

            I've done 3D modeling and photo editing using a 1.2gHz Athlon, 384MB of RAM and a CRT heavier than some UPS units. It's slow, but definitely possible.

            • by Joce640k (829181)

              1.2gHz? Luxury.

              My first copy of 3D Studio ran on a 33MHz 486 (which was one of the fastest PCs available at the time).

              • 1.2gHz? Luxury.

                My first copy of 3D Studio ran on a 33MHz 486 (which was one of the fastest PCs available at the time).

                Yeah, and it's still probably trying to render that 480 x 320 8 bit 45 second movie that you had been working on in 1995...

                • not really. I really got a lot of mileage out the 550Mhz Athlon I used all throughout college (until the end anyway) and, for almost all the coding I did, it was pretty much equal to what I have today -- one can only code/type so fast. I realize there are certain industries that will always use more - but fer chrissakes acting like a netbook is somehow crippled IS a bit much..
          • by Joce640k (829181)

            Hell im using some older Dell D series laptops as cheap servers.

            I'm just connecting up an Arduino as a web server so I'm getting a kick out of this thread.

          • There's a huge performance difference even for consumption though. I have both netbook class hardware (Pentium M Banias/Dothan, and Atoms in both N270 and N280 flavors) and notebook class hardware (typing this from a Core2Duo machine with 2+Ghz and 8 gigs of RAM), and the performance difference, even with just Chrome or Firefox open, is HUGE. Opening and closing tabs, loading web pages (especially reopening an entire browser session), loading Flash video... the netbooks and older hardware have absolutely no

            • even though they're all running XP (Win7 is another little bit slower)

              One thing I noticed is that XP has gotten *MUCH* slower with the latest updates. Granted I only keep XP around for Publisher and Yahoo Messenger (on the rare occasions I need photo sharing & webcam) so my Kubuntu partition gets the most attention, but still something to keep in mind.

              I also definitely have issues with the OP saying that older hardware can't do the job. My Sempron EOLed in late 2006 and it's STILL doing what I need. And for the record it's a stock 1.6 Ghz.

              • Of course the old hardware still works just fine, as long as you use the same old software. My experience has been that most mainstream software, like (especially!) browsers, is becoming quite bloated and doesn't run well on older hardware any more. FF4 gave me a nice boost over FF3 on my older Pentium M hardware, but unfortunately it's been downhill from there :(

                Hell, even Slashdot is noticeably faster on current hardware :'(

                • Actually, On the sempron I run the newest version of Kubuntu & Opera and they fly. The only real performance boost I gave to the OS was shutting off Nepomuk & Stringi - those two things are useless to me and eat up a huge amount of resources).
              • by Joce640k (829181)

                Given that they've got 2Gb RAM I bet Win7 would speed them up. A lot.

                XP has a terrible memory manager which constantly hammers the swap file even when there's plenty of RAM available.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          That's ridiculous, you don't measure yourself with regard to 5 year old technology and call it good when you're comparing present price. You measure it with regards to current technology when dividing these things into various tiers.

          And no, a genuine netbook is not going to be faster than even a 5 year old laptop. My last netbook isn't going to outclass anything made since about a decade ago. Back before netbooks were run out of the market by MS, they were typically sporting processors that were cutting edg

          • And no, a genuine netbook is not going to be faster than even a 5 year old laptop.

            My atom-powered was faster than my 5 year old laptop when I bought i (it also had a higher resolution, though smaller, display.) What distinguished it was no optical drive.

            Its pretty much what distinguishes the class. I can create with it (creating doesn't actually take more power than consuming), it doesn't handle heavy multitasking as well as my two-year-older Core2Duo laptop, but "creating" and "heavy multitasking" aren't t

          • you'd have to have an impossibly long upgrade cycle before it would be an upgrade over their present full sized laptop.

            I've seen a lot of households with children and working-class income that have what some more well-off geeks might call impossibly long upgrade cycles. They use something until it breaks, and then they buy a used product to replace it.

        • Anyone with a longer than, say, 2 years upgrade cycle, would find the netbook specs to be an upgrade over their present full size laptop...

          Hardly. Atom is slow. That's not to say you can't do work with them: many people who work with computers use them for the most trivial of tasks, light word processing, email, stuff like that. But beyond that, you'll hit the limits of a what a netbook can do very quickly, both because of the agonizing speeds and because of the limited resolution. The latter might be the b

          • but doing work in such a cramped environment seems almost impossible after using a large display (or even multiple).

            Netbooks will generally drive external displays up to 2560x1920 (maximum spec of the intel chipset). For on the road use, there is a fairly direct correlation between screensize and weight.

            You can get a computer weighing as much as a heavy netbook with much more speed and slightly larger screen, but you will pay a lot for it and it will still be heavier than an old eee 900.

            • Well, obviously I was talking about standalone use, whether on-the-road, on the couch or at the desktop. But a netbook with a big screen attached still doesn't make for a good workstation, certainly not if you try to use modern software.

              Note that it's not just the display size, but really the resolution. I'm more or less fine with 10", though I think I slightly prefer the 12" my previous subnotebook had, but it's the right ball park. Anything much bigger than 12" simply isn't mobile anymore, IMO, it's too h

              • But I'd like at least 1440xSomething on a 10-12" display. Having a higher resolution doesn't really drive up the weight or the power requirements, either, though obviously it does increase the prize.

                Well, let me know if you find one. I've been looking for that for a while. They're now stuck on 1366x768. Even the otherwise really nice thinkpad x220s. I would gladly pay a decent premium for a 1600x900 screen in a 12" laptop. Or a 1366x768 screen on a 9" netbook. But the netbooks with those screens are 12" and

                • Well if you allow 13.3in, Sony will sell you a Vaio Z with a fairly impressive 1920 x 1080... for a price.

        • by Toonol (1057698)
          Why?

          My guess is so that Apple's products can be defined out of the 'netbook' category.
        • by Amouth (879122)

          your right - we where but now i can get more done in the same amount of time..

          I'm all for using what is appropriate for the job.. but as someone who has to compile/encode/model/texture/VM's an Intel Atom or equivalent just doesn't work - yes it can do it.. but you know what.. it is a hell of a lot faster on an i7 - in fact you could do all of it on a 386 (minus VM) if you wanted to.. but why would you on a regular basis?

          Use the right tool for the job to get it done effectively..

          • by Joce640k (829181)

            as someone who has to compile/encode/model/texture/VM's an Intel Atom or equivalent just doesn't work

            Maybe you're not the target market for Netbooks but that doesn't mean they're useless. For what most people do with their computers an Atom works just fine.

            • by Amouth (879122)

              i never said that a "netbook" was useless. (i love them - use them as thin clients and also for family members)

              i only objected to calling any laptop without an optical drive a "netbook"

      • netbook in my idea is a sub class of laptop that has enough processing power to consume but not enough to effectively create.

        Speak for yourself. I have a netbook. It's fine for running many things, such as the GIMP, document processing programs, presentation producing programs, compilers, drawing packages, etc. It probably would be a little slow for some of the newest video editing techniques, but I never do any video editing anyway.

        you can get an i7 in a 2.2lbs x220, there is no optical drive, and it surly

      • netbook in my idea is a sub class of laptop that has enough processing power to consume but not enough to effectively create.

        I have a Dell Inspiron Mini 1012 with a dual-core Atom CPU, 1 GB of RAM, and Ubuntu 11.04, and I can do plenty of creating on it. Apart from the 10.1" internal monitor (which can be fixed with a VGA cable and an HDTV), this is comparable to a P4 of a few years ago. I've never had a problem running GIMP on a netbook, though it needs a bit of rearrangement of tool palettes to make everything fit on a 1024x600 pixel screen. Nor have I had a problem running Modplug Tracker to compose music. It runs GCC to comp

        • by Amouth (879122)

          I agree with you - and the Dual core Atoms are very nice - I use one for an HTPC, and if you get the right one you can get them with VT/VD on it and make life easier on it (in my work usage) - Very very few "netbooks" have that - but rather the slower N270 or something equivalent.

    • Because of the smaller size low power consumption is a factor. Unfortunately for Intel, ARM is better at low power than their Atom offering. I don't remember the exact difference but it seemed to be an order of magnitude lower whereas ultrabook is merely multiples. 15W is less than half of the stingiest Core iSeries.
      • by tepples (727027)

        Unfortunately for Intel, ARM is better at low power than their Atom offering.

        Unfortunately for ARM, Intel is better at marketing its architecture to developers of proprietary applications designed for machines with keyboards.

    • by eepok (545733)

      The way I understand it:

      Desktop Replacement Laptop = 17"+ screen, 500+GB hdd, DVD drive (likely blu-ray), processor does not belong to manufacturer's "portable" lines, often has high-power graphics option. Price varies with components.

      Notebook/Laptop: 15"+ screen, 200+GB hdd, processor is likely one of the mfg's "portable" processors, some sort of optical drive (likely DVD-RW). Price varies with components.

      Ultra-portable Laptop: up to 15" screen, SSD of some amount of GB or up to 320GB HDD, mfg's "portable"

    • by CompMD (522020) on Monday August 08, 2011 @03:56PM (#37026168)

      An Ultrabook is an old Ultrasparc II based laptop. Way to be creative, Intel.

  • Recovering wha?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UnresolvedExternal (665288) on Monday August 08, 2011 @09:59AM (#37021492) Journal
    FTA:

    Atom sales have fallen off sharply in the past year, thanks to a recovering economy

    Erm... whose economy are we taking about here?

    • Erm... whose economy are we taking about here?

      It doesn't matter. If they delude you the reader into thinking the economy is recovering, then maybe you'll click the Shop link and, you know, shop.

      • by Joce640k (829181)

        OK, you go first...

        • by robot256 (1635039)
          As one of the lucky few who have so far been unaffected (cushy government job, *crosses fingers*), I make it a point to do my part and keep the economy rolling. Or at least that part of the economy consisting of Newegg, Amazon, and the local deli.
  • It's sad actually (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amn108 (1231606) on Monday August 08, 2011 @10:06AM (#37021596)

    Status-quo for PCs as of lately - the entire lazy uninspiring market just trails Apple, who, as much as I dislike the whole flashy iDesign, have been the only true innovators for years now.

    As much as I like my Thinkpad, it often amazes me why if it's thin and light, has everything you need, then it has to run that iOS thing.

    It looks like Apple are thinking, while everyone else just tries to profit riding the wave. Like rich estate owners who cannot be bothered to actually work anymore, because it's been so long they did, they have no understanding nor desire to do so, but they do want the money they lay claim to.

    We are sold "business" laptops that are supposed to be our road warriors, that have gamer graphics cards in them for some idiotic reason, that get not just warm but burning hot in our laps (while we thought we could actually use them as well LAPtops you know), that come with a shitload of software crap someone either thinks we need or doesn't give a damn about, and on top we have Microsoft aggressively pushing Windows to us, which is at best a patch on a suit full of holes and stains. My point is: the PC industry as a whole is a mess, there is no direction and definitely no respect for the multititude of jobs people who work with computers these days do - it's like we are sold toys that we are supposed to use and throw out after a year. Everybody sings their tune, software is pushed to interpreted languages and the cloud which negatively affect one of the most important usability factors out there - latency. It's amazing we are not told that we shouldn't multitask because the new JavaScript OS is too slow to do that on todays Intel Core CPU.

    All the while Apple at least is innovating. Maybe because that's what they long wanted to get away from - the messy juggernaut of the PC industry that is like a landfill of throwouts someone somewhere tries to fit together to give us the next best thing, for their 15 minutes of fame.

    Gee, Intel, is it a coincidence you thought of finally shaving off a centimeter off the average laptop height 2 years after Apple, and probably half a decade after it began to be possible and the users began wanting it really badly after complaining of carrying five pounds of machine on average with them every working day?

    • by hedwards (940851)

      I've got a Thinkpad and my only complaint is that it came bundled with Windows. Other than that, it's great hardware and beats the crap out of my mother's Atom based netbook. Personally, I was shocked to find out how much more the school paid for it than what I paid for my much more responsive Thinkpad.

      • by robot256 (1635039)
        As a longtime Thinkpad fan, every time Lenovo comes out with a new model I wonder if it will disappoint. So far, so good--my last two needed no more than one repair during two years of abuse. That's damn good, considering it seems every Dell I so much as look at sideways shits its pants in short order. If you want a solid business machine that's modest in appearance but reliable on the inside, Thinkpads are the way to go.
    • by kiwix (1810960)

      Status-quo for PCs as of lately - the entire lazy uninspiring market just trails Apple, who, as much as I dislike the whole flashy iDesign, have been the only true innovators for years now.

      The netbook was a good innovation IMHO (small, light and cheap, with just enough power for daily needs), and it certainly didn't come from Apple.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      A it does not use IOS it uses OS/X IOS is related to OS/X but it is not the same thing.

      Really take a look at a Macbook Air and then look at other light notebooks in the same class. It is actually priced very well for an ultra light notebook. Apples doesn't make any low end notebooks but the ones that they do make are competitively priced.
      I use OS/X, Windows, and Linux. For a workstation my favorites are OS/X, Linux, and Windows in that order. OS/X really does work very well and frankly the only thing I miss

    • It's unfortunate, yes. Even among Thinkpads, I had to search for quite a while until I found the right balance of battery life, performance and heat... it's gotten a bit easier with the latest *20 series (Mainly because nVidia Optimus eliminates the battery life problem in most models - even the W520 gets 7+ hours now), but there are still pitfalls like the T420s, with its absolutely abysmal battery life.

      • by robot256 (1635039)

        I just got a T420s and I really like it. It only gets 3-6 hours on a charge (with an Intel SSD), but that's not surprising--it's a full-power laptop with half the battery, which is why it weighs a full pound less than the T420. It suits me just fine--when I'm using it heavily, the larger battery wouldn't actually help much. I have lots of power adapters (slim AC/DC, plus one at home and work), so I rarely need the battery for more than an hour. I don't do a lot of traveling, and take the train when I do

        • The 9-cell on the regular T420 has a capacity of 94Wh - with an average power consumption of 10W (idle is 7W, more or less the same as your T420s, most likely), that's a runtime of 9 hours and more - 12h+ if you're just reading PDFs. 3-6h vs. 9-12h is pretty much the difference between taking a charger everywhere and just leaving the charger at home... the latter is very comfortable.

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      hm we have macbook pro's at work, they have gamer cards and run hot as balls, heck the ones a few years ago ran so hot they would desolder their own nvidia GPU

      IMO it just sounds like you dont know how to shop for what you want, they make cute thin light cool stinkpads, and apple makes multicore portable mainfame furnaces, its not a companies or markets fault you dont know what your looking for.

    • We are sold "business" laptops that are supposed to be our road warriors, that have gamer graphics cards in them for some idiotic reason

      Because PC makers want to sell you games through their online store to play on break. Or because a lot of businesses rely on 3D design. Or because more and more applications benefit from GPU acceleration, such as Adobe Photoshop since CS4 [adobe.com].

      software is pushed to interpreted languages

      Because except for mass-market software, developer time is more expensive than runtime.

  • Ah, how beautiful it is to observe market space competition, falling prices relative to dollars, (which are also falling BTW.). Just how much would all and any of this cost to the end consumer if there was no inflation caused by government money printing? How much electronics would cost today without any government regulations, taxes, subsidies altogether I wonder? 100 bucks for a fully loaded top quality laptop? One can only dream of a world where there is more competition in everything else, from healthc

    • Ah, how beautiful it is to observe market space competition, falling prices relative to dollars, (which are also falling BTW.). Just how much would all and any of this cost to the end consumer if there was no inflation caused by government money printing? How much electronics would cost today without any government regulations, taxes, subsidies altogether I wonder? 100 bucks for a fully loaded top quality laptop? One can only dream of a world where there is more competition in everything else, from healthcare, to education, to insurance, to travel, to energy, to food, etc.etc. arrrgh.

      The blatantly political thread is ---> that way.

      Must be odd to see the world through your libertarian colored glasses. Your field of view must be rather limited given the blinders that are inherent to that philosophy. I'll be it hurts to be walking into reality so much.

  • Fiberglass cases ? Double-punishment if you drop your "Ultrabook":
    - Fiberglass breaks easily;
    - If will spread a fine cloud of fiberglass shards after the impact - breathe those and your lungs are fubar.

    • by vlm (69642)

      Fiberglass cases ? Double-punishment if you drop your "Ultrabook":
      - Fiberglass breaks easily;
      - If will spread a fine cloud of fiberglass shards after the impact - breathe those and your lungs are fubar.

      Well, duh, then a year after the fiberglass cased models are released we'll be "permitted" to "upgrade" to a "new plastic case" which fortunately only costs $200 more.

      See coke, new coke, classic coke, repeat...

    • by smash (1351)
      You haven't had much to do with fibreglass have you?
      • by psergiu (67614)

        Not recently (i.e. the last 15 years).

        If you know of any recent technology improvements made to fiberglass, please share them with us.
        And remember, this is the cheap fiberglass+epoxy we are talking about, not carbon fiber or other stronger materials.

        Thanks.

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          I take it you have never heard of the LongEZ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rutan_Long-EZ [wikipedia.org]
          Fiberglass fishing rods? Fiberglass tent poles. They are all pretty tough and can take a good amount of abuse. Fiber glass is even used in motorcycle helmets. depending on the epoxy and the layup they can be very strong and light. Not as light as say CF but still really light.
          I would rather see AL since it is more recyclable but fiberglass will be better than standard plastics for strength.

  • Sorry to see this new form factor requires lots of pieces built into place instead of modulized or componentized. It means when your SSD goes bad or the network card fries you will have to replace the whole thing, or at least send it in to the manufacturer for replacement. The days of replacing the card or the drive are over. More potential avenues for profit for the manufacturer, but not so good for us measly consumers!

    • by Alkonaut (604183) on Monday August 08, 2011 @10:26AM (#37021840)
      The whole point of not making it modular is to make it smaller and cheaper. You can still buy a componentized notebook which has twice the thickness as these, or choose a product from this segment which is a lot thinner. You can probably buy an ultrathin componentized notebook as well if you want to, but you will have to shell out three times the money. I'm happy with soldered parts if the size and prize is right.

      The old segment isn't going away because there are more air-clones, just like notebooks weren't replaced by netbooks. More product segments actually offers more choice which is usually good for us measly consumers!

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      Actually on the Air the SSD is replaceable.
      It is a trade off for the user. Lighter, longer battery life, thinner vs easy to repair.
      It is what people want.

  • Compared to a netbook, I can see following negatives at once: - A BOM that is twice (at least) of the one of a netbook; - Components soldered in place, so no upgrades and if one fries, you have to buy a whole new system; with the higher BOM, you're doubly screwed; - Fiberglass casing, so it breaks easily, and releases shards that ruin lungs; Positives: - Possible decent screen (11/12") in a small form factor; - Thinner. So, the only way I see to get this to sell is to discontinue netbooks... Not that it ha
  • by hey (83763)

    I need a few hundred gigs of disk space on a laptop. That'll still require a harddrive. Does that mean I can't use an Ultrabook ?

  • Think I'll pass on this
  • so it takes 700 bucks to gather the materials, add in marketing, management, packaging, wholesale, retail + extended warranty and your going to have a total shit 3000$ laptop that wont be able to do anything cause its only burning off 15 watts out of a celphone battery

    sounds fucking great

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