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Intel Unveils Atom, CULV Chips For Ultra-Thin Laptops

The processors are targeted at mainstream laptops that are less than an inch thick and weigh two to five pounds.

Intel on Tuesday rolled out several processors for thin laptops, including an ultralow-voltage chip.

The new chips, launched at the Computex trade show in Taiwan, are aimed at mainstream laptops that are less than an inch thick and weigh two to five pounds. Such systems available today include Apple's MacBook Air on the premium side and the X-Slim X340 at the low end from Micro-Star International.

The ultrathin laptops in general provide more power, full-size keyboards, and larger displays than less-expensive netbooks, which typically have displays 10 inches or less. However, the lines between the categories are blurring, with computer makers starting to offer netbooks with screens of about 12 inches. Acer sells such a system, and Lenovo is getting ready to launch one this year.

Nevertheless, Intel is looking to divide the categories through its processors. For netbooks, Intel offers the inexpensive Atom chip. For ultrathin laptops, it offers the more powerful consumer ultralow-voltage (CULV) line.

At Computex, Intel introduced the Pentium SU2700, which has a clock speed of 1.30 GHz, 2 MB of L2 cache, an 800-MHz bus, and 10-watt thermal design power. In addition, Intel unveiled the Core 2 Solo SU3500 and the SU9500 and the Celeron M 725, which consume more power but deliver higher performance. Intel also launched the GS40 Express Chipset to run alongside the new processors, delivering such capabilities as high-definition video playback, support for Windows Vista Premium, and native support for integrated HDMI, which lets a PC play online video on a digital TV.

Intel claims a number of computer makers are designing ultrathin laptops using its CULV processors. Those companies include Acer, Asustek Computer, Dell, Dixons, Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, LG Electronics, Medion, NEC, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony, and Toshiba.

Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices also offers a platform for lightweight, ultrathin laptops. AMD's technology comprises an Athlon Neo processor, ATI Radeon integrated graphics, and an optional ATI Mobility Radeon discrete graphics card.

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