Quicker low-voltage Core i7s are in the works

— 6:00 AM on April 29, 2010

We've seen Intel's new Core Mobile processors in a decent number of full-sized laptops, but few ultraportables have stepped ahead of the Core 2 generation. Perhaps that will change soon. Fudzilla reports that Intel is planning to release two new ultra-low-voltage mobile Core i7 processors with high Turbo speeds and tight thermal envelopes over the coming months.

Next quarter, Fudzilla says we'll see a Core i7-660UM processor with a 1.33GHz base clock speed and a 2.4GHz Turbo Boost speed. Intel will follow in the fourth quarter with a Core i7-680UM, which will run at 1.46GHz with a 2.53GHz Turbo speed. Both processors should have 4MB of L3 cache and 18W TDP ratings. (If you think the 18W number is high, keep in mind that it includes both CPU cores plus the integrated graphics, which resides on the CPU package.)

As Fudzilla points out, Intel's lineup already includes 1.06GHz Core i7-620UM and 1.2GHz Core i7-640UM CPUs, but those have yet to materialize in very many laptops. A search for the i7-640UM at Newegg reveals only a single notebook based on it, the Fujitsu LifeBook P770, which sells for $1,459.99. This three-pound machine has a 12.1" 1280x800 display, 2GB of RAM, a 160GB 5,400-RPM hard drive, a six-cell battery, and Windows 7 Professional.

Perhaps Intel's prices are giving laptop vendors cold feet—the chipmaker quotes bulk-quantity prices of $278 and $305 for i7-620UM and i7-640UM, respectively. With little competition in the ultra-low-voltage space from AMD and those shortages we've been hearing about, though, Intel might be in no rush to stray from those price points.

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