Ivy Bridge for Ultrabooks
Inside Intel's premium portables
The one thing missing at the launch of Intel’s Ivy Bridge CPU technology was detail on the dual-core and lower powered chips for the mobile market segment, in particular, for its Ultrabook concept. The recent launch of the ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) and dual-core standard voltage mobile Ivy Bridge parts has revealed all, with the ULV parts being of particular interest to Ultrabook manufacturers.
To put the latest technology through its paces, I have an Intel badged Ultrabook – it must be, it says so on the lid – but before you rush down to the shops to try to put in an order for it, don’t bother. It’s not a retail product, just a proof of concept to tout the new mobile Ivy Bridge technology and show how a second generation of Ultrabook might perform. Early signs suggest some very nice kit will see the light of day in the coming months.
Intel Ivy Bridge Core i mobile Ultra processors roadmap
Before I get into the Ivy Bridge Ultrabook experience, let's take a look at the mobile processors available for this third generation Core i-series. The new ULV (Ultra Low Voltage) CPUs are dual-core, four thread 22nm processors.
The current line-up features of two Core i7 offerings: the flagship i7-3667U (2.0GHz base clock, 3.2GHz single core Turbo, 3.0GHz dual-core Turbo) and the i7-3517U (1.9GHz base clock, 3.0GHz single-core Turbo, 2.8GHz dual-core Turbo). The two Core i5 chips are the i5-3427U (1.8GHz base clock, 2.8GHz single-core Turbo, 2.6GHz dual-core Turbo) and the i5-3317U (1.7GHz base clock, 2.6GHz single-core Turbo, 2.4GHz dual-core Turbo).
All four ULV CPUs have a TDP of 17W, with the two Core i7s having 4MB of L3 cache, while the two Core i5s have 1MB less at 3MB. All support a maximum memory speed of DDR3-1600 and all use Intel’s HD4000 GPU graphics clocked at 350/1150MHz – the exception being the i5-3317U which is limited to a maximum of 1050MHz. For business users, the i7-3517U and i5-3317U processors might be the ones to avoid as they have neither vPro nor Intel Trusted Execution Technology support.
Next page: Variations on a theme
Re: screen resolution
Bah. How about a 16x10 aspect like 1440x900, or 1680x1050?
Intel should make the 1600x900 a minimum requirement for 13" models.
So many better choices
Ultrabooks don't sell because they are a poor choice for most people unless all you want is bling. I don't see more than 4 GB. RAM being an issue for most folks these days as consumers tend to replace laptops every few years because they are so slow compared to a desktop. 4 GB. of RAM is sufficient for most desktop and laptop users though there are exceptions. If your use requires or benefits from more RAM then buy a laptop with that option. Objective testing shows only minute gains for most apps when going from 4 GB. to 8GB. so don't expect to really get much performance for the additional costs.
Ultrabook with unusual utility
The usual Ultrabook recipe we see is an Ivy Bridge ULV processor, 4GB RAM (often non-upgradeable), and a mystery SSD at 128 or 256 GB. A few connectors and then anything between a crappy, dark screen or a really nice IPS screen.
I found only one Ultrabook with a concept that really differs from this. Gigabyte's U2442V and U2442N. They sport an SSD AND a conventional hard drive. (not talking about a hybrid here, its really 2 drives). And if you find the ULV processor too weak for your taste, you can go to the U2442N and get a regular Ivy Bridge quad core processor and a Kepler based Nvidia GT 640M GPU to go with it. This isn't quite as thin as Asus' MacBook Air alike Zenbooks, but it hardly weights anymore (1.4 KG vs 1.6 KG). The screen is 1600x900, though its only a TN screen and not quite bright enough for outdoor use.
Personally, I don't care in which direction size and weight gets reduced. "Thin" isn't the hot feature for me, if they shave off size and weight in other directions, I'm quite happy with that. Like making less wide display bezels.
Re: Obviously pretty damn quick
I'd just moved on from Wordperfect 5.2 in a DOS box around then, skipping up to Word 6 at around 95... always remembered the "Help for Wordperfect Users" option in that. Embrace indeed.
Numbers needed - nice graph or chart - the benchmarks move on apace - today's PCMark on it's own needs more RAM and disk space than the old system ever had in total...