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Intel ups MacBook Air chip speed; CULV in summer

updated 02:55 pm EDT, Fri March 27, 2009

Intel C2D S and ULV Monday

Intel is now known to be launching significant updates to its notebook processor line on Monday that should be headlined by an upgrade to the processor line central to Apple's MacBook Air and Lenovo's ThinkPad X301. An update list obtained by CNET has the semiconductor company upgrading its Core 2 Duo S to include a 2.13GHz model, the SL9600. The chip is a significant update over the previous 1.86GHz ceiling but should still preserve an identical 17W of peak thermal power consumption, 6MB of Level 2 cache and the 1,066MHz system bus.

The SL9600 should cost $316 in batches of 1,000 chips and will cost the same as the similarly new 2.53GHz SP9600, a full-speed but more efficient processor that uses the same 25W of power as the 2.4GHz chip it effectively replaces.

Intel is also now poised to launch its expected 1.6GHz ULV chip, the SU9600, which draws 10W of typical power and should cost $289 in bulk. The 1.4GHz Core 2 Solo SU3500 is likewise due for $262 and is now known to use just 5.5W of power.

However, claimed sources within Intel stress that the ultra low-voltage processors aren't part of the Consumer Ultra Low Voltage initiative. These processors are now due in summer and should now cover a significantly larger spread of notebooks than originally presumed. A leaked presentation shows the new chips being used in ultralight notebooks as inexpensive as $599 but also as expensive as $1,299. The aim continues to be an alternative between small but slow netbooks and full-size notebooks.

It's not yet evident whether Apple, Lenovo or other PC makers will adopt the new notebook chips immediately or at all, though at least Dell and HP are already tapped as some of the first likely to introduce CULV systems.

by MacNN Staff



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