The long road to thin and light computing (part 1)

3/26/2012 9:03:12 AM

The long road to thin and light computing (part 1)

Description: hummingbird-ulrabook-image

With ultrabook making a silent rebellion in personal computing, John Gillooly is considering how Intel ends up coming to this thin and light mobile version.

Intel has a long-term history in focusing on product names registered trademarks. It was a tradition since 406, when Intel could not obviously register a number as the trademark, and 596 became Pentium. Thus, there are many famous brands in the field of computing such as Centrino and Netbook, as well as some names which are less well-known like VIIV.

As this tradition, Ultrabook is a brand of Intel, so Intel can manage who use this term and what it means. While it can be consider as a trick to prevent AMD from following, laptop buyers benefit because they can feel secure that if there is anything use the label of Ultrabook, it will comply with specific guidelines as size and type of processors. We saw a local manufacturer change its marketing strategy after it had released an “Ultrabook” based on Atom, which Intel rushed headlong to attack quickly.

The first time we heard about Ultrabook was at the Computex commercial exhibition in Taiwan last June, after ASUS launched UX21 and UX31 model. Since them it has been promoted by Intel along with laptop producers who released their first product line before Christmas Eve. The first marketing has peaked with the flood of designs and various products introduced in CES in January.

You can suspiciously see Ultrabook concept like a fake marketing tool. However, this laptop of new generation which is thin, light and cheap actually marks an important moment in the long history of mobile computing. This design used to account for the expensive segment of the market, because of historical difficulties in reducing the power consumption and heat capacity of the processor to match the shape factor.

Long and roundabout road

The main character for all is Intel, which have spent much time and effort in order to change the design philosophy that desktop came first and laptop followed it. It relates to the long jumps in a large number of decades from the raw gigahertz number, which topped with Pentium 4 consuming too much power that directs to use CPU smarter.

When Pentium 4 was launched, desktops still dominated the PC market where laptop was mostly business tools. The first mobile Pentium 4 devices were designed to move from this socket to other socket, and it was clearly that structure and microstructure couldn’t cut it in mobile space. It gave birth to Pentium-M, based on Pentium 3 structure more than Pentium4. By doing this and making a separated low voltage CPU focusing on mobile, Intel could push laptops forward, right at the moment AMD was beating it about performance on desktops.

The main problem with the processor design is that it’s very difficult to get a structure built around the power and heat output consumption and cut down it to fit the requirement of mobile users. The consumption of +100W is good when PC is plugged into a socket, located in a case with a large cooling fan and many fans for airflow management. Nevertheless, if you put it into a mobile frame, you not only cope with weak electrical capacity of lithium ion battery technology and alkali hydride metal but also you suddenly have no room to dispel the heat from CPU.

Nowadays, laptop design became a kind of art. Technologies such as heat pipes is widely used even in desktop fans, completed to work in laptop frame and allow engineers to dispel heat from the processor to proper positions to eliminate. New materials like magnesium alloy become popular, turning all laptop frames into cooling devices.


  •  The long road to thin and light computing (part 2)
  •  Toshiba, Asus launch new laptops
  •  Windows armed and ready
  •  Microsoft & Apple rejoin the os battle
  •  Emurasoft Emeditor Professional
  •  Ultrabooks starts to succeed tablet
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  •  Windows Home Server Installation and Configuration
  •  Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 : Overview of Branchcache & Planning to Deploy Branchcache
  •  Windows Server 2008 R2 monitoring and troubleshooting : Data Collector Sets
  •  Linking PCs with a Network : Creating a Wired and Wireless Computer Network
  •  Linking PCs with a Network : Choosing Between a Wired or Wireless Network
  •  Upgrading to Windows Server 2003 : Planning a Windows NT Domain Upgrade (part 3) - Making a Recovery Plan
  •  Upgrading to Windows Server 2003 : Planning a Windows NT Domain Upgrade (part 2) - Planning the Active Directory Forest
  •  Upgrading to Windows Server 2003 : Planning a Windows NT Domain Upgrade (part 1)
  •  Upgrading to Windows Server 2003 : Architectural Changes Since Windows NT 4.0
  •  Windows Server 2008 R2 monitoring and troubleshooting : Event Viewer - Configuring event-based tasks & Setting up event log forwarding
  •  Windows Server 2008 R2 monitoring and troubleshooting : Performance Monitoring
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