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Intel preps ultra-thin notebook chips

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Intel will soon release two new ultra-low voltage (ULV) processors designed for ultra-thin notebooks.

According to DigiTimes, the company will unveil the 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo SU9600 and the 1.4GHz Core 2 Solo SU3500 next month. Prices will be $289 (£202) and $262 (£183), respectively, in 1000-unit quantities, the Taiwanese pub said.

Ultra-thin notebooks are suddenly all the rage, but with prices for their processors hovering in the mid-to-high $200 range they're not going to compete with netbooks powered by Intel's $44 (£31) Atom N270.

Nor should they. Ultra-thins are designed for the style-savvy traveler who is willing to forgo a full-fledged notebook's higher level of performance and capabilities in return for ultra-portability and ultra-élan. Think Apple's MacBook Air, Sony's Vaio TT, or Dell's upcoming Adamo.

Both are designed for use with Intel's Mobile GS45 Express Chipset, which also support the company's existing consumer ultra-low voltage line. The line includes the 1.4GHz SU9400 ($289, £202), SU9300 ($262, £183), 1.2GHz SU3300 ($262, £183), and 1.2GHz Celeron M ULV 723 ($161, £112).

DigiTimes' source didn't comment on whether the introduction of the new chips would be accompanied by a change in Intel's pricing structure.

If priced as reported, the new chips will heat up an already bubbling ultra-thin market. Reports, for example, of a new Intel ULV chip designed for ultra-thins surfaced at CES earlier this year, as competition to AMD's current Neo processor designed for that company's Yukon platform and a dual-core Neo set for release later this year.

An Intel spokesperson declined to confirm or deny the purported new ULV chips, saying that the company doesn't "comment on speculation and rumors."

Fair enough - but she did dangle one tantalizing hint, saying that "Intel will offer ULV in many different and new flavors over this next year." ®

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