Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

Intel Introduces Core Processors for Ultrathin Laptops: Get Ready for a Super-Fast MacBook Air


Intel yesterday announced a new line of processors dubbed Ultra-Low Voltage Core. Essentially, these are lower-voltage versions of the Core i3, i5, and i7 processors that are currently the top of the heap for mobile power. Apple's very recently refreshed MacBooks use those, as do HP's Envy laptops.

The new ULV Core chips are something a bit different, however. They're promised to reduce battery use by 15%, as well as offering a 15% improvement in power efficiency and allowing for a 30% reduction in thickness. Yet Intel promises they're as powerful as the larger, more energy-sucking Core chips. They retain the fancy-sounding and utterly incomprehensible Turbo Boost Technology and Hyper-Threading Technology (just kidding—those two techs are mostly designed for better resource allocation and multitasking).

The chips are also packing HD video decoding, which should allow for pretty decent video and audio playback—often an Achilles heel of low-power chips.

But these processors aren't like other low-power chips, mostly because they're not particularly low-power—you won't find them in cheapie netbooks alongside Intel's Atom processor. Instead, these ULV Core chips are headed to ultrathin laptops like Apple's MacBook Air and Dell's insane-looking Adamo XPS. Expensive chips for expensive laptops, that's what I always say. But it also means that ULV laptops like the Air and Adamo XPS, which are typically the underpowered, underperforming pretty boys of the laptop world, will be able to secure some legitimate muscle.

Intel says the first of these laptops (Acer, Asus, Lenovo, and MSI are specifically mentioned as partners) will be available in June, which if my math is correct is barely a week away. This is exciting—let's just hope the new ULV Core chips are everything Intel says they are.

Dan Nosowitz, the author of this post, can be followed on Twitter, corresponded with via email, and stalked in San Francisco (no link for that one—you'll have to do the legwork yourself).