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Saturday, July 4, 2009

Intel plans see Calpella, CULV chips processor in summer

A leak of Intel's notebook processor plans for the second half of 2009 show the company moving aggressively into its new platforms during the summer. Those within notebook builders tellDigiTimes that the Nehalem-based notebook processor line, Calpella, is still on track for summer and is slated for mid- to high-range notebooks costing about $1,200 or more. Whether or not this will involve only quad-core processors, as recently rumored, isn't known.
Also due in a similar timeframe are ultraportables based on the CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) design, which is based on current-generation Core 2 (Montevina) technology. It's now been given a narrower suitability range and will most likely be used in systems with 12- or 13-inch screens and prices between $699 and $1,200. Although it's unclear whether it's truly being used by these companies, Acer, ASUS and MSI all claim to already be using the processors in newly introduced notebooks.

Intel is also reported as looking to phase out its relatively high-performance netbook combination of the 1.66GHz Atom N280 and GN40 chipset and instead push its aging 1.6GHz Atom N270 and 945GSE combination until September, when Pineview-era Atom processors ship with a much faster, integrated graphics core and a smaller footprint. Low demand is cited as the cause but is likely affected by GN40's reduced battery life, competition from NVIDIA's Ion platform and the absence of Windows 7, which would be needed to take full advantage of the extra graphics features.

As part of its effort to maintain the existing netbook platform, Intel is said providing a "white box" generic netbook design for smaller PC makers that would have the N270/945GSE combination, an 8.9-inch display, 8GB or 16GB of storage, 512MB of RAM and Moblin Linux for the equivalent of $256. Its longevity isn't mentioned and may be at Intel's discretion, as the company will "strictly monitor" supply to avoid oversaturating the market.

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