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Intel Corp. has announced that it had managed to create an ultrabook case made of plastic. The company claims that a new way of making plastic makes as rugged as metal. The world's largest maker of microprocessors calls makers of notebooks to create devices using the new material it invented.

The material was created by borrowing "engineering methodologies from the automotive and aerospace industries". Intel engineers have created an ultrabook concept chassis that is "a fraction of the cost and equivalent in quality" to existing machined aluminum and die cast metal solutions in the market today. Intel disclosed no details about the new alloy; it also did not show a photo of its concept device in its public release. Intel's closest partner Asustek uses aluminum to create its top-of-the-range UX ultrabook series.

Intel said the breakthrough, which involved "structural reduction analysis" to achieve added strength using existing plastics widely available today, would help lower the cost of ultrabooks in the near future. The company said it would be sharing the results of its work with its ecosystem partners, and that ultrabook systems using the new chassis designs would likely become available next year after further refinements in engineering and design.

Intel is trying hard to decrease the cost of notebooks by any means. For a reason, the company believes that the market of expensive notebooks is limited to 10% - 15% of the market, which is true when only Apple MacBook and Lenovo ThinkPad and some others are in the consideration. In fact, there are numerous expensive models from HP and Dell that are quite popular despite of their price.

Intel asserts that its material is as strong as metal, but that has to be proven on actual devices. Intel did not show a picture of such prototype product in its press release, which means that the material is barely ready for mass production.

The materials of which contemporary PCs are made are a big discussion. Apple makes its PCs from aluminum, but the full-body aluminum cases do not only cost a lot, but are hard to make since milling process takes a long time. One - like Lenovo Group on ThinkPad - could use magnesium alloys, but those are quite expensive and do not look exactly good on pricy notebooks. Another - like Samsung Electronics - uses glass-fibre plastic to make its laptops look properly and be rugged enough. Intel did not disclose any characteristics of its material.

Tags: Intel, Ultrabook

Discussion

Comments currently: 7
Discussion started: 06/03/12 10:33:35 AM
Latest comment: 06/05/12 05:46:30 AM
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While better tech, lighter weight and more (not the same) strength than plastic would be useful in a laptop, everything Intel does confirms that few people are willing to buy an underpowered, overpriced Ultra-Expensive-Brick.

Gigabyte's carbon fiber case would be a step forward over plastic or aluminum/magnesium, if done properly and was equal in costs - which isn't going to happen.

Thank God we have AMD and we'll have AMD powereed Ultrathins very soon. Buy what makes you happy. Those people who have been buying laptops are voting against the Ultrabook because it's all looks and not a good value for most people.
4 4 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 06/03/12 10:33:35 AM]
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"Gigabyte's carbon fiber case would be a step forward over plastic or aluminum/magnesium, if done properly and was equal in costs - which isn't going to happen."

We'll see if Gigabyte actually manages to sell them at $1000+ price point. Until now, only Apple and Lenovo Group have managed to sell expensive notebooks to consumers.
2 0 [Posted by: Anton  | Date: 06/03/12 02:30:16 PM]
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Intel's processors has higher performance compared to what AMD has to offer at this time. If you are comparing Intel graphics, then you are kidding yourself of what is better. The majority of users are not gamers. The gamers crowd is still 1% of the general public that uses computers.

The Intel i3 processors still beats on terms of performance with AMD Trinity processors. The prices of these processors relates to their performance, so I would not be happy going with AMD processors for an Ultrabook.

The ultrabook and notebooks altogether is not for me because I am never mobile to get good use of these types of computers. The people that are voting off Ultrabooks are probably enthusiasts and gamers because can not put high-end parts in a Ultrabook. Ultrabooks are more netbook replacements, but a lot more functional processor.
0 0 [Posted by: tecknurd  | Date: 06/04/12 05:47:33 PM]
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My current laptop has aluminum case. It is nice to look at, but if it is hit by something, it would leave a dimple. I could count several spots already. There are also some scratch marks due to rubbing against the bag.

I would prefer a composite plastic over metal any time.

Heck, I want one with Aramid (Kevlar) fiber. Who know, my son may need it to stop a bullet.
3 0 [Posted by: Tukee44  | Date: 06/03/12 12:05:30 PM]
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FYI, Kevlar is strong but by itself is not strong enough stop a bullet. Kelvar strains is orientated and weaved in a proprietary way to stop a bullet.

Tell yourself all the scratches your aluminum case notebook is the history from all the places or abuse it has gone through which gives it character.
1 0 [Posted by: tecknurd  | Date: 06/04/12 06:02:46 PM]
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