Intel took the wraps off four new Core processors Monday that are squarely aimed at laptop PC makers. According to the market-leading microprocessor giant, the new ultra-low-voltage devices featuring integrated memory controllers and graphics will enable OEMs to build sleeker, lighter weight laptops that are less than one inch thick.
Intel's latest Core i7, i5 and i3 chips, which are based on 32nm process technology, give manufacturers the ability to build ultrathin laptops that are 32 percent slimmer and improve multitasking performance by up to 35 percent, the company said. More than 40 designs based on the new chips from computer makers such as Acer, ASUS, Lenovo and MSI are expected to begin shipping next month.
"Intel's leadership in 32nm high-k metal gate process technology, combined with breakthrough architecture and design, has enabled thinner, lighter and faster notebooks than previous models, with terrific battery life," said Intel Vice President Mooly Eden. "Not only are laptops becoming ultraportable, but with the new processors inside, users will see faster response times and less waiting."
More Room For Innovation
Beyond helping OEMs deliver products featuring a slimmer form factor, Intel's new Core i7, i5 and i3 chips promise to lower laptop power consumption by up to 20 percent. According to a recent Intel consumer survey, 66 percent of the respondents rated less energy consumption and better battery life among their top mobile-computing needs, while 42 percent want to see laptops become lighter.
Through the launch of its latest Core chips, Intel is looking to help mainstream PC vendors position themselves for gains as the market recovers by leveraging new ultrathin designs. This particular segment of the market is expected to grow from about 11 percent in 2008 to approximately 19 percent in 2014, noted Intel, citing IDC data from the fourth quarter of 2009. Gartner does not maintain a forecast for this segment, but expects the sale of ultraportable PCs weighing less than four pounds to rise, "especially in the professional market," noted Mikako Kitagawa, a principal analyst at the research firm.
Though machines under an inch in thickness seem slim right now, this is only the beginning. Processors will continue to become even smaller and thinner as chipmakers move from 32nm to even denser wafer geometries based on the even more advanced processes slated for introduction in the future, noted Intel spokesperson Connie Brown. "Our chips will continue to evolve and you'll see them in smaller and thinner designs," Brown said.
Intel's new chips for ultrathin laptop designs feature performance enhancements such as Intel Turbo Boost, which accelerates processor performance whenever the workload requires it. Intel Hyper-Threading is also aboard to help reduce latency whenever the user is performing several tasks simultaneously.
Both processor enhancements will enable laptops to adapt their performance to match workload requirements on the fly. As a result, applications feel faster and the PC stays more responsive -- even when the user is engaged in multitasking, Intel said.
Based on Intel's Nehalem microarchitecture, Intel's latest Core processors are designed to work in tandem with the chipmaker's new mobile Intel 5 series chipset, which supports multiple video and audio options such as HDMI and DisplayPort and delivers robust data protection for users' digital assets. The new Core chips integrate Intel HD Graphics -- an enhanced video and 3-D engine that integrates a suite of advanced video processing, 3-D and DirectX 10, and OpenGL 2.1 software technologies for improving image quality and performance.
Movie buffs will appreciate that the technology even supports a hardware-accelerated decode for Blu-ray dual-stream picture-in-picture content. What's more, the new processors will support mainstream 3-D gaming without the need for an add-in video card, the chipmaker said. On-chip audio capabilities include Dolby TrueHD and DTS Premium Suite.