updated 02:20 pm EDT, Mon March 12, 2012
ASUS UX32A and UX32Vd to aim for budget ultrabooks
ASUS' ultrabook refreshes could include some of the first truly discounted, mainstream ultrabooks. New leaks stemming from the same source for The Verge had two 13.3-inch models, the UX32A and UX32Vd, coming in at under $800. Both would still get Intel's low voltage Ivy Bridge Core i3, i5, and i7 processors, but only sometime after they shipped; initial batches would use the outgoing Sandy Bridge generation, insiders said.
Most of the cost-cutting would come from storage and wireless. Either would use a hybrid drive solution of both a small solid-state drive and a conventional 500GB hard drive, bumping up the weight. They would still stay comparatively thin at 0.72 inches. WiDi would be strictly optional, although the UX32Vd would make for the rare inclusion of dedicated graphics through a GeForce GT 620M and could be pitched as a light gaming PC.
Either would still have the option of the 1080p screen tipped for the upcoming UX31A. Choices of 2GB or 4GB of RAM would would be available on the systems, which could show up at or near the anticipated late April release of Ivy Bridge itself.
Cutting under $800 could mark the first instance of a Windows-based ultrabook pricing significantly under a MacBook Air without hurting the designer. Acer has been selling the Aspire S3 at $800, but at a break-even price versus Apple's healthy profit. Many of those jumping into Windows-based ultrabooks early on are used to relying on cheaper casing and slower processors to reach lower pricing, options which aren't feasible given the demands for very thin bodies and flash storage in ultrabooks.