Ultrabook makers take the Ivy Bridge path
Intel sets the rules
Extreme Hardware Intel launched quad-core versions of its Ivy Bridge processor in April but held back on dual-core versions, apparently to sell out its Sandy Bridge dual-core chips. With the dual-core Ivy Bridge CPUs out this month, PC makers are already starting to announce notebooks based on the new architecture.
First, a recap. Ivy Bridge is a 22nm version of Sandy Bridge, Intel's previous processor family. The quad-core chipsets released in April each have four 64-bit x86 processor cores, a memory controller and a GPU on one silicon die. Each core has 64KB of Level 1 cache and 265KB of Level 2 cache. All four cores plus the GPU share 8MB of Level 3 – or "Smart", as Intel calls it – cache.
Key to Ivy Bridge are tri-gate 3D transistors. These have a single gate stacked on top of two vertical gates, providing three times as much surface area for electrons to travel on. This reduces electron leakage and cuts power consumption.
Intel claims: "The additional control enables as much transistor current flowing as possible when the transistor is in the 'on' state (for performance), and as close to zero as possible when it is in the 'off' state (to minimise power), and enables the transistor to switch very quickly between the two states (again, for performance)."
Inside Ivy Bridge
Ivy Bridge’s integrated graphics have been beefed up, with support for Microsoft's DirectX 11 and 4K x 2K video resolutions. The chip also supports USB 3.0 and PCI Express 3.
Intel announced the first batch of Ivy Bridge dual-core processors at the end of May. They are all Core i5 and Core i7 models – the i3 versions are due for launch later this year.
Among the batch are four chips destined for Ultrabooks. These slim, lightweight notebooks must conform to a strict(ish) Intel spec. Intel’s protoype Ultrabook featured a 13.3in, 1,600 x 900 display, 4GB of RAM and a 240GB solid state drive, and weighed 1.4kg. Intel reckons commercial versions of the same spec should retail for $1,000-$1,100, although it hopes prices will eventually drop as low as $599.
To carry the Ultrabook monicker, notebooks must have either USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt ports, have Intel Protection and Anti-Theft enabled, and be able to load and run apps "responsively".
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Touch screen on laptops?
I mean, why? What possible reason would you have for touch screen when you have a keyboard and mouse/touchpad instead? Just to get grimy finger marks on the display?
I can see why touch-screen is good for a tablet - more display for a given overall size since the display doubles up as input - but not for something with a permanent keyboard, etc.
What is Intel thinking?
Do they think end users go in the shop, point their trembling fingers to a laptop and ask in anticipation "ooooh, is it an Ultrabook?"
Or do they think businesses ask for laptops which are to Ultrabook specifications?
They are truly deluded!
Re: Touch screen on laptops?
Not only grimy finger smears on the screen (its bad enough when showing someone some drawings and they insist on prodding the screen) that puts me off touchscreen, but the poor ergonomics of reaching that far forward, too.
A scaled-down Microsoft Kinect might be better suited- (might be, with the right software) to interacting with laptops, as it doesn't merely replicate what the mouse does, doesn't leave smears and doesn't require me to lean forwards.
outdated screens, not enough conenctors
1,600 x 900 is a little less insulting at the price point than x768, but it's still nowhere near good enough for the 2nd octile of the 21st century. We've been building typewriters with LCD screens for decades now, is this really still the best we can do?
of course not. It is still possible to buy a netbook for something like a quarter of the price, so why are these machines still so poor.? OK, posh CPU. Which of us stresses our CPU to the ultimate? Screens, connectivity, storage, are all inadequate. if they want to take a thousand currency units off me, it better be worth 1000. Why not stick a wireless DVD drive in the box with it at that price?
Intel HD Graphics 4000 is still a stinking pile of crap for graphics...
...I will never understand why Intel is keep peddling their utterly useless PoS integrated graphics.
Yes, it's faster than the previous one which was behind the curve by at least ~6 years last year, so this updated piece of crap (Intel HD 4000) is now only 3-4 years behind AMD's or Nvidia's mobile graphics chip performance, awesome...
...it is not.
It's downright embarrassing and when you pair it with awful panels with laughable display resolutions you immediately see why most people think Ultrabooks are nothing special except another take on selling boring and crappy laptops in a thinner body - but waaaaaaay overpriced!
In other words it's just another stupid, arrogant ripoff attempt by Intel '50% margin' Corporation - do not buy it.