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After numerous attempts to convince PC makers to reduce their profit margins further and use innovative plastic materials to reduce the prices of ultrabooks, Intel Corp. may now be ready to slash the cost of some of its ultra low-voltage microprocessors by a little more than 10% in a bid to make new types of PCs more attractive.

For over a year now Intel has been trying hard to lower the pricing of ultrabooks, high-performance, highly-responsive thin-and-light notebooks powered by its chips. Although Intel originally recommended to use expensive materials, such as metals or alloys, to compete with Apple MacBook Air in terms of aesthetic, it recently started to suggest usage of certain relatively inexpensive rugged plastics to broaden the markets addressable by ultrabooks. While many plastic substances are rather strong, they cannot be used everywhere. As a result, many original design manufacturers (ODMs) have invested into companies who make metal PC cases in a bid to secure supply of ultrabook cases.

Another way to reduce the costs of notebooks is to reduce profit margins of actual manufacturers. This is not easy to do, given the fact that gross margins ODMs nowadays are below 7%, according to IHS iSuppli market tracking firm.

All-in-all, Intel has reportedly decided to reduce the prices of its ultra low-voltage Core i3 "Ivy Bridge" central processing units in order to make ultrabooks more affordable without further cutting ODMs' profitability or using cheap cases that may eventually crack and returned to stores, which will damage reputation of ultrabooks and PC suppliers. The reduction on Core i3 ULV chips will be in $25 - $27 range, said Cody Acree, an analyst with Williams Financial Group, citing Chinese-language Commercial Times news-paper.

At present Intel has only one mobile Core i3 chip with 17W thermal design power that is suitable for ultrabooks: the model i3-3217U with two cores, 1.80GHz clock-speed, 3MB cache and Intel HD 4000 graphics core. Right now Intel sells the chip for $225, hence the $25 - $27 slash will be over 11%, which seems to be a rather significant, yet not a dramatic price-cut that changes everything.

It remains unclear whether Intel's idea to offer low-cost central processing unit for premium ultrabooks will pay off. Nonetheless, it will likely at least make clear what consumers want from ultrabooks (performance or portability amid rapid response) and will get Intel's partners ready to meet low-cost AMD's ultrathin laptops initiative.

Intel did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: Intel, Core, Ivy Bridge, Apple


Comments currently: 10
Discussion started: 07/04/12 06:47:27 PM
Latest comment: 07/08/12 07:10:04 AM
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Right now Intel sells the chip for $225, hence the 25% slash will be over 10%, which seems to be a rather significant, yet not a dramatic slash.

This sentence makes no sense.
2 1 [Posted by: john42  | Date: 07/04/12 06:47:27 PM]

it's 25$ and 10%

Good news, more competition between the 17w Trinity and i3
1 1 [Posted by: dragosmp  | Date: 07/05/12 12:16:14 AM]

Good News, especially for Core i3 Windows 8 Tablets
2 1 [Posted by: boyfriend  | Date: 07/05/12 01:47:42 AM]

ultrabooks are not "premium", except in the sense that they're "premium netbooks". of course it makes sense to lower the entry-level cost, since the vast majority of users never max out even entry-level processors. (you'd never guess it from the performance whinging on enthusiast sites like this one, of course!)

ultrabooks are premium netbooks, or equivalently, thin-and-lights guided by the affordability of a netbook.
0 1 [Posted by: markhahn  | Date: 07/05/12 02:38:46 PM]
- collapse thread

That comment makes no sense. MacBook Air is faster than the current generation 13 inch MacBook Pro because of the SSD and is only 10% slower in processing speed:


Not to mention Ultrabooks such as the Asus X32 and MBA series have better trackpads and screens than 95% of all laptops out there.

Maybe you have no idea what Ultrabooks are? The fact that almost all Ultrabooks have SSDs already makes them head and shoulders faster in every day feel than pretty much all laptops. And Ultrabooks aren't for gaming. They are supposed to be thin and light, but have nothing in common with underpowered, cheap/flimsy/plasticky netbooks with their garage screens.
6 0 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 07/08/12 06:42:34 AM]

Poor sales show that most consumers have no interest in an Ultra-expensive, under-powered, shiny notebook that is low on performance and high on bling.

Ultrathins however with Trinity APUs selling for hundreds less will be very popular with consumers who want performance and value.
6 2 [Posted by: beenthere  | Date: 07/05/12 06:12:21 PM]
- collapse thread

show the post
2 6 [Posted by: kailrusha  | Date: 07/06/12 02:58:11 AM]
Read post above. As usual, your comments continue to contradict real world data. Ultrabooks are pretty fast because they have SSDs and their CPUs are not much slower than full fledged laptops unless you go quad-core (already proven in the MacBook Pro 13 inch vs. MBA 13 inch comparison of their CPUs by Computerbase).

If you need a quad-core laptop with a powerful GPU, then you don't care for a thin and light laptop (i.e. you don't understand the entire point behind Ultrabooks).

Your comment is akin to saying that a Lotus Elise/Exige can't carry as much load as a Ford F150. Duh! It's not designed for that task. Asking Ultrabooks to render CineBench at 3960X speed, or to max out Crysis 2 at 1080P is ludicrous. For what they are, nothing even comes close in terms of performance vs. price vs. size/weight/battery life. Also, you totally ignored the overall user experience (screen, keyboard, construction materials, trackpads).

If you want to lug around a 1.7 inch thick Alienware 17x/18x that weighs > 9 lbs, good for you!

Performance wise, Core i5/i7 ultrabooks slaughter Trinity in almost everything besides gaming. Granted, the gaming on Trinity is the only technical advantage it has. Until AMD has premium, portable/light laptops made of good quality materials, with good trackpads, keyboards, 128GB SSD standard and great screens, it's a moot point.

Trinity competes in the budget space. The APU (GPU) in it has already been shown to be barely adequate to run basic games such as Diablo 3 anyway. Both are too slow for any serious gamer if you want to be realistic about it.

I think you still don't understand the point of an Ultrabook. If you think Core i5/i7 with an SSD is underpowered, then Trinity would be completely inadequate, strapped with mechanical drive and even slower CPU performance.

Honestly, you are turning into Wreckage, Warrior_247, Rollo style character for AMD. Even the barebones GT630M Kepler beats the fastest Trinity APU on the market for games:

Anyone who even cares about gaming isn't buying a Trinity-based laptop. They are buying an Intel laptop + Kepler/HD7000 series discrete GPU.
6 0 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 07/08/12 06:46:08 AM]

I don't care about how much more powerful Intel's x86 integer performance is. Microsoft Word can't really run any faster than it does already, and its opening speed is a function of I/O (hard drive/SSD) storage access and throughput speed, not CPU performance at this point.

However, giving me smooth full-display video playback and at least 30 frames per second in Diablo III, however, DOES get my attention. That's why my next ultra portable will be powered by AMD, CPU and graphics. Not to mention that, as an additional bonus, I won't be giving my money to Intel, a company that used mafia-style tactics to scare their own customers, nor nVidia, a company Linus Torvalds just recently characterized with a statement which involved the use of his middle finger.
1 2 [Posted by: anubis44  | Date: 07/05/12 10:56:53 PM]
- collapse thread

Where do they find so many biased uninformed AMD fanboys?

Trinity + HD7660G cannot even run Diablo 3 at 30 fps at 1080P. It can only achieve 19-20 fps (unplayable):

The worst Kepler GPU is faster...

Something like a GT650M is 2x faster.

And what does Linus Torvalds have anything to do with how good a GPU is for games? Linux OS is useless for gaming anyway and what has that guy ever done that's changed the world? There are countless things NV has done for the gaming and GPU hardware industry that made ATI/AMD's graphics division better for it too.

Why should NV work on Linux? Almost no one uses it. That's like asking Casio's calculator division to work closely with an abacus manufacturer to improve the abacus that 30 people in the world use.
6 0 [Posted by: BestJinjo  | Date: 07/08/12 07:10:04 AM]


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