Gigabyte shows ultra-light carbon fiber laptop

Gigabyte claims it will be the world's lightest 11.6-inch laptop on the market, weighing a hair under 1kg

Taiwan's Gigabyte Technologies is showing what it claims is the "world's lightest" laptop at the Computex trade show in Taipei this week.

The Gigabyte X11 is made from a durable, lightweight carbon fiber material similar to that used to build Formula One race cars, according to the company. It has an 11.6-inch screen and weighs 975 grams, a shade lighter than Apple's MacBook Air.

It's also shaped a bit like the Air, although the X11 comes with a glossy black finish. It's 16.5 millimeters high at the back and 3mm high along the front. It will be offered initially with Windows 7 and Intel's new "Ivy Bridge" Core i5 and i7 processors.

Gigabyte calls the system an ultrabook, an emerging class of thin and light laptops introduced last year to help the PC industry compete better against the iPad and other tablets. Carbon fiber is more expensive than the aluminium or plastic used to build most laptops, so the X11 will be at the high-end of the ultrabook price range.

It will sell for between $999 and $1,299 before taxes, and go on sale in the third quarter in the U.S. and some European countries, including the U.K. and Germany, said Ksenia Mardaeva, a Gigabyte marketing manager.

Gigabyte is best known for supplying motherboards and other components, but like many Taiwanese firms it's trying to build a recognizable brand among consumers for finished products.

Other specs of the X11 include a 128GB solid-state drive, 4GB of DDR3 memory, a high-definition 1366x768 resolution display, and a large fiber glass touchpad. It has a USB 2.0 port on one side and a USB 3.0 port on the other, as well as a Micro SD slot and an audio port. It supports 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.

The carbon fiber exterior is six times more durable than aluminium, according to Mardaeva. The Core i5 model has a textured black finish that's supposed to show the structure of the carbon fiber beneath the surface, while the i7 version is plain black.

James Niccolai covers data centers and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow James on Twitter at @jniccolai. James's e-mail address is james_niccolai@idg.com

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