Debut of Intel CULV Platform Is Disappointing – Analysts

Consumers Unwilling to Buy Intel CULV Laptops

by Anton Shilov
09/14/2009 | 11:39 PM

Consumers are unwilling to acquire notebooks powered by Intel Corp.’s CULV (consumer ultra low voltage) platform, according to analysts. Despite of debut early this summer, the low-power notebooks still have not gained any significant market share. In fact, the same seems to be true for AMD-based notebooks that feature low voltage microprocessors.


The success of ultra low-cost netbooks – the vast majority of which is powered by Intel Atom microprocessors – has catalyst both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices to offer low-cost small form-factor notebooks to consumers. The ultra-thin laptops offer decent performance amid small sizes and proper screen size. Naturally, they cost more than netbooks, but more comfortable form-factor and higher performance should compensate higher price.

However, notebook vendors have to save on materials in order to keep the costs low and that may be a factor why those machines are not very attractive. Moreover, ultra-thin notebooks offer neither portability of a netbook nor performance of a typical notebook. As a result, consumers are reluctant to buy CULV notebooks.

“We had hoped that CULV-based notebooks would provide a compelling reason for consumers to trade up from netbooks beginning in the second half of 2009. [But] have adopted the view that CULV's […] power savings is not sufficient to justify the price premium for the processor,” said Citigroup analyst Richard Gardner, reports MarketWatch.

Intel CULV has another problem: its costs are higher than originally anticipated.

"CULV uptake has been limited as the product design has resulted in higher machining and product platform costs than originally planned. This has resulted in notebook OEMs [original equipment manufacturer] and ODMs [original design manufacturer] pushing more core notebook models, which we believe is still very positive for Intel," said ThinkEquity analyst Vijay Rakesh.

It is interesting to note that AMD also has hard times popularizing its ultra-thin notebook platforms. The first-gen platform code-named Yukon with single-core processors is available only from Hewlett-Packard. The second-generation platform called Congo should be available from many more laptop manufacturers, but definitely not all of them.