AMD Counters Intel Ultrabooks With 'Ultrathin' Line

Intel won’t be the only chip maker pushing the Ultrabook form factor this year.

Rival chip vendor AMD is gearing up to launch its own version of a super-thin, light-weight notebook form factor -- fittingly called the Ultrathin -- sometime around mid-year, which will be powered by the company’s next-gen line of A-series "Trinity" accelerated processing units (APUs). The new processors are said by AMD to deliver the same performance as its current A-series line used in standard notebooks, while using only half the power and drawing 17 watts of power.

In addition to power efficiency, the new Ultrathin line is expected to deliver a feature perhaps even more attractive: a low price point. According to a report from DigiTimes, AMD’s Trinity-based Ultrathins will be offered at a price point approximately $100 to $200 less than upcoming Intel Ivy Bridge-based Ultrabooks. DigiTimes suggested that the modest Ultrathin price point will be possible because AMD’s new Trinity-based platform delivers little in terms of boosted performance or function.

Exact price points for the Ultrathin platform have not been confirmed, but Andy Lutzky, an AMD spokesperson, cited affordability as a critical factor behind the company’s overall strategy for the platform. "The price point is definitely a goal," Lutzky told CRN. "Anything in the $599, $699, $799 range is the goal."

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In addition to pricing models, Lutzky stressed AMD’s upcoming Lightning Bolt technology as a potential draw for the chip maker’s Ultrathin line. Lightning Bolt will be a high-speed input/output technology that delivers USB 3.0, DisplayPort and power over a single cable with mini DisplayPort connectors.

Upon its release later this year, AMD’s Lighting Bolt technology will enable the consolidation of various notebook input ports, making it ideal for use within the super-sleek and space-conscious Ultrathin model. "The hope," Lutzky said, "is that it [Lighting Bolt] could eventually appear in Ultrathin notebooks that have Trinity in them."

Like the Ultrathin, AMD’s Lightning Bolt technology appears to be a counter-attack to a move already made by rival Intel, whose own high-speed input/output technology, Thunderbolt, can be found within Apple’s popular MacBook Pro and MacBook Air line of notebooks.