Intel develops chip that could rival the one in Apple's MacBook Air
Lenovo and Fujitsu will use the low-voltage Core 2 Duo chip in upcoming laptops
IDG News Service - Intel Corp. has shrunk another processor that will be incorporated into new ultrathin laptops, possibly creating competition for the processor it developed for the MacBook Air ultrathin laptop.
Like the Core 2 Duo processor specially developed for Apple Inc.'s MacBook Air notebook, Intel shrunk the new processor to make it 60% smaller than standard-size processors in its Merom family, according to Connie Brown, an Intel spokeswoman. The chip is manufactured using the 65-nanometer process, like other Merom processors.
Though the size is the same, the SL7100 LV chip consumes less power and operates at a slower speed than the Macbook Air chip. It will operate at 1.2 GHz, with 4MB of cache. It uses 12 watts of power, according to specs provided by Intel. The Core 2 Duo processor for MacBook Air uses 20 watts of power and operates at 1.6 to 1.8 GHz.
The new processor was developed independently of the MacBook Air processor, Brown said. "These [SL7100 LV processors] are similar but not identical to the Apple processor," Brown said. The MacBook Air processor was specially developed to meet Apple's needs and is also available to other PC makers, Brown said.
Lenovo will include the Core 2 Duo SL7100 LV processor in a new notebook, according to specifications published on the Best Buy Web site, which says the new device will have 2GB of RAM, a 64GB solid-state drive and a 13.3-in. screen. The laptop is the ThinkPad X300, according to posts at numerous tech-enthusiast Web sites.
Declining to comment on the ThinkPad X300 posts, Lenovo spokesman Raymond Gorman said in an e-mail that the company will be "announcing a new ThinkPad by the end of the first quarter that we believe will continue our tradition of innovation and function."
Fujitsu will include the SL7100 LV in its ultraportable LifeBook P8010 laptop, which includes a 12.1-in. screen, a DVD-RW drive, and wireless and wired networking, according to a document filed with the Federal Communications Commission. The laptop is due to ship in the U.S. this month and on Tuesday will be available on Fujitsu's Web site starting at $1,699, according to a company spokeswoman.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs called Intel's development of the Core 2 Duo chip for its MacBook Air an engineering feat during a keynote at the Macworld Conference and Expo in January.
Intel has publicly talked about developing chips with smaller form factors. At the Intel Developer Forum last year, it said it would shrink chips by up to 60% for its next-generation Montevina mobile platform, which will include the new Penryn processors manufactured using the 45nm process.
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