Updated at 12:30 p.m. PDT with additional information throughout and corrections to cache size and thermal envelope ratings.
Intel will refresh its lineup of chips for ultraportable laptops on Monday.
The new dual-core processors--targeted at Apple MacBook Air-class laptops--include the 2.53GHz SP9600 priced at $316 with 6MB of cache memory and a thermal envelope rating of 25 watts. Slotted below this chip is the 1.6GHz SU9600 (3MB cache) priced at $289 with a thermal envelope rating of 10 watts.
The lineup also includes a single-core 1.4GHz SU3500 with a thermal envelope of only 5.5 watts. This is priced at $262.
Intel ULV and LV chips due on March 30, 2009:
- SP9600 / 2.53GHz / 6MB cache / 1066MHz FSB / 2 cores / 25W / $316
- SL9600 / 2.13GHz / 6MB cache / 1066MHz FSB / 2 cores / 17W / $316
- SU9600 / 1.60GHz / 3MB cache / 800MHz FSB / 2 cores / 10W / $289
- SU3500 / 1.4GHz / 3MB cache / 800MHz FSB / 1 core / 5.5W / $262
- ICP900 / 2.2GHz / 1MB cache / 800MHz FSB / 1 core / 35W / $70
These new chip models being launched Monday are not the rumored "CULV" (consumer ultra low voltage) processors targeted at inexpensive ultra-thin laptops, according to sources close to Intel. Those future chips--which Intel will not necessarily label CULV--are not due to summer, the sources said.
The future ULV processors for inexpensive ultra-thin laptops--similar to the $700 Hewlett-Packard Pavilion dv2 expected to hit the streets next month--will be priced to allow PC makers to roll out attractive, sleek laptops that are not priced in the stratosphere, like the $1,999 Dell Adamo or $1,799 MacBook Air.
Let's step back for a minute and examine Intel's ULV lineup. Intel low-power mobile processors have been around for a long time but gained prominence with the introduction of ultra-thin luxury laptops such as the MacBook Air and the ThinkPad X300. The newest ULV chips, for instance, power Dell's new Adamo ultra-thin laptops and the update to the ThinkPad X300, the X301. (The Adamo uses Intel Core 2 Duo SU9300 and SU9400 processors.)
So, what is the new line of ULV chips due this summer for inexpensive ultraportables? These processors will be a departure from Intel's strategy to date of putting ULV chips into sleek luxury laptops only. The new chips will target the price segment well below the $1,800-and-up luxury laptop market. Prices for these ultra-thin laptops would range between $600 and $1,300, according to Intel.
The processors--at least according to Intel's theoretical game plan--will not compete with the Atom processor that powers Netbooks, which fall below the $500 price point.
But this will be tricky and potentially not clear to customers. For instance, is a $700 Atom-powered Hewlett-Packard Mini 1000 Netbook with built-in broadband Verizon wireless and an 80GB hard disk drive better or worse than a not-so-full featured Pavilion dv2? We'll have to wait and see how this shakes out.