CULV versions of Core i3, i5 may be on the way


— 9:41 AM on May 10, 2010

Intel's Nehalem architecture may finally be coming to consumer ultraportables. PC World has had a peek at Intel's latest roadmap, and it says Intel is cooking up Core i3 and i5 processors that will "power laptops that are as portable as netbooks but have larger screens and greater functionality." The story goes on to say such laptops typically cost $400-800.  That description certainly seems to fit the consumer ultra-low voltage (CULV) class of processors Intel is now shipping only in Core 2-derived form.

PC World doesn't mention exact product names, specifications, or pricing. Nevertheless, Intel's roadmap reportedly puts the introduction of such CPUs in this quarter. Laptops based on them should be out in the second half of this year.

Intel has probably had little incentive to release CULV versions of its mobile Core i3, i5, and i7 CPUs these past few months, considering even current CULV chips have little direct competition from AMD. (Those Core Mobile shortages we keep hearing about might not help, either.) That said, recent reports suggest AMD is about to unleash its next-gen Nile ultraportable platform, and over 100 Nile-based notebooks are in the pipeline.

The Nile platform's 45-nm processors might be competitive with current Intel CULV parts, but similarly priced Core i3 and i5 offerings probably wouldn't have much trouble gaining the upper hand in terms of performance and battery life. Core Mobile processors are, after all, based on 32-nm process technology, and they have a newer architecture with perks like Turbo Boost, which can increase core clock speeds dramatically in mobile applications.

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