Notebook makers preparing not-quite-ultrabooks

Intel has been eager to push ultrabooks, but the skinny systems remain relatively expensive, and that appears to be driving notebook makers to consider other options. According to DigiTimes, Acer originally intended for ultrabooks to make up 25-30% of its notebook shipments this year. That number has now been reduced to 12-20%, which is similar to the percentage of ultrabooks Asus expects to ship in 2012. "Market watchers" quoted by the site expect ultrabooks to account for just 10% of the notebooks shipped by Toshiba and HP.

We may see a lot of new notebook models that resemble ultrabooks but don't carry Intel's official blessing, though. In a separate article, DigiTimes says notebook vendors are preparing to release "ultra-like" notebooks with lower prices. These not-quite-ultrabooks will reportedly be similarly slim but use different materials. I suspect we'll see fewer of those systems with SSDs installed. Some will likely be based on AMD's upcoming Trinity APU, which will include a 17W variant targeted at smaller notebooks.

If you want more graphics horsepower than Trinity's integrated Radeon, Sager's 11.6" NP6110 ultraportable will soon pair mobile Ivy Bridge CPUs with Nvidia's GeForce GT 650M discrete GPU. The 650M has 384 ALUs clocked at 850MHz, so it's a cut above the bottom-feeding GPUs we typically see in notebooks. The whole system weighs just under 4 lbs and measures close to 1.5" at its thickest point, so it's a bit of a heffer. At the very least, it looks like an interesting alternative for gamers seeking a compact system. The Sager starts at around $800 with a Sandy-based CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 500GB hard drive.

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