NOTEBOOKS HVE ALWAYS involved a trade off between performance and battery life, but it looks like Intel will be getting close to finding a fine balance between the two later this month, when it’s set to launch its ULV version of the Calpella mobile platform.
We should see a wide range of new notebooks based on the new ultra low power version of Intel’s Core i-series of mobile processors. Initially Intel will only launch three processors. First up is the Core i5-520UM which is clocked a paltry 1,067MHz, although it does feature Turbo Boost which will boost it to 1.6GHz in dual core mode and 1,865MHz in single core mode. It also has 3MB of L2 cache; an on die IGP that operates at a mere 166MHz but also supports Turbo Boost, but we don’t know to what speed at the moment. The TDP is a respectable 18W and The Core i5-520UM should retail for $241.
Next up we have the Core i7-620UM which starts out at the same lowly 1,067MHz but it has been given a higher Turbo Boost multiplier so it’ll top out at 1,733MHz in dual core mode and 2,133MHz in single core mode. It features 4MB of L2 cache, the same 166MHz base IGP clock and the same 18W TDP, although it will be slightly more expensive at $278.
The top of the range ULV model is the Core i7-640UM that has a base clock of 1,200MHz, which gets boosted to 1,866MHz in dual core mode and 2,266MHz in single core mode. Otherwise it has exactly the same features as the 620UM, although again the price goes up slightly to $305.
All three CPUs have a slightly limited memory controller compared to their standard mobile counterparts, as they only support 800MHz DDR3 memory, rather than the 1,066MHz support of their more power hungry brethren. They use the same BGA-1288 socket and have an operating Voltage of between 0.75V and 1.4V. We’d expect these processors to be paired up with Intel’s standard mobile xM55-series of chipsets, as all three models have a TDP of a mere 3.5W, but it’s possible that Intel has developed an even more frugal version for these processors.
These first three ULV models will be followed by the Core i5-540UM and the Core i7-660UM in Q3. The Core i5-540UM will come in with a base clock of 1.2GHz, but this will be boosted to 1,733MHz in dual core mode and 2GHz in single core mode. The rest of the features will remain the same as the 520UM. The Core i7-660UM will start out at 1,333MHz, but will hit dual core speeds of 2GHz and single core speeds of 2.4GHz. Again, the rest of the features will the same as the other ULV Core i7 models.
So far only Acer has voiced support for the new ULV Calpella platform with rumours of 13, 14 and 15-inch notebooks hitting the market this month. The interesting thing with Acer’s new models is that they’ll be less than an inch thick making them slimmer than many of the current CULV notebooks. We should be seeing a similar battery life, or even better from notebooks based on the ULV Calpella platform over the current CULV platform. The good news for consumers is that the current CULV platform is set to drop in price as it gets phased out, so there might be some notebook bargains to be had towards the end of this month.
We’re also suspecting that Apple has some interest in the ULV Calpella platform, at least if the company intends to make a MacBook Air refresh this year. Intel’s leak earlier this year is suggesting that Apple is moving its notebooks to the Core i platform and we’d expect all but possibly it’s most entry level MacBook’s to move to the new ULV processors.S|A
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