HP announces a gaggle of ultrabooks

Ultrabooks are the flavor of the week in the PC industry, and as the world’s biggest PC vendor, HP is pretty much obligated to deliver. It did just that yesterday, announcing a gaggle of ultra-slim systems with all kinds of display sizes, brand names, and price tags.

The guys at CNet News have a nice, bite-sized rundown of the many offerings. Those include the Spectre XT, a three-pound, 13-inch ultrabook with an Ivy Bridge processor, an all-metal construction, and a $999 price tag. Other key specs include 128GB of solid-state storage, USB 3.0 and HDMI connectivity, and a "quad-speaker audio system."


HP’s Spectre XT ultrabook. Source: HP.

Don’t get your wallet out just yet, though. The Spectre XT isn’t due out until June 8. I’m guessing that’s because HP is waiting on Intel to release dual-core, 17W variants of its Ivy Bridge processor. Right now, the only mobile Ivy models are quad-core chips with 35W and 45W TDPs—great for full-sized systems, not so great for slick and slim ultrabooks.

Similarly, HP has some AMD-powered Envy Sleekbooks primed for a June 20 release. The cheapest one, a 15" system, will start at just $599 with an AMD APU and 320GB of mechanical storage. I expect that lineup to feature AMD’s next-gen Trinity chips, which are slated to be available with both 17W and 35W power envelopes.

Comments closed
    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    Put me down for a 35W Trinity “sleekbook” please.
    I honestly don’t mind if it’s quarter of an inch thicker if it actually runs CAD and games.
    Before people tell me how much better HD4000 is, it’s still only half the speed I would call “acceptable” for a premium product.

    • NeelyCam
    • 7 years ago

    I’m still waiting for next year’s ultra/sleekbooks. The way I see it, these don’t quite have enough magic to make me replace my 11.6″ Core2Duo CULV laptop, but Haswell just might..

      • madseven
      • 7 years ago

      Everyone kept saying Sandy Bridge, then kept saying Ivy Bridge…now everyone is saying Haswell….don’t you get it…not going to happen

        • Geistbar
        • 7 years ago

        Those groups of “everyone” do not have the same membership over the years. Many of the people who were waiting for Sandy Bridge went ahead and upgraded when it came out. Many people who said the same for Ivy Bridge did as well. It will be the same with Haswell. There will be some people saying “maybe next gen” constantly, sure, but they aren’t everyone.

          • OneArmedScissor
          • 7 years ago

          There aren’t any Ivy bridge ultraportables to “upgrade” to yet, silly goose.

          Plenty of people are still waiting for something to really supplant Core 2 CULV ultraportables. Sandy Bridge did not do that and it’s unlikely Ivy Bridge will, either. $1,000 “ultrabooks” are not helping in that department.

          I wouldn’t bet on Haswell helping too much because it emphasizes the status quo – saving space for ever-thinner “ultrabooks” and improving the GPU.

          It’s possible the low power Haswell’s combination of the integrated VRM, special cut down southbridge, and matured low power process will help, but that really does not appear to be Intel’s goal.

          We may just have to wait until laptops get the SoC versions of the next generation Atom and Bobcat.

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          I upgraded my desktop from Core2Quad to SandyBridge. I’m waiting to upgrade my ultraportable to a Haswell ultrabook or – *shocked* – whatever AMD might offer at that time

            • Thatguy
            • 7 years ago

            Hold on i need to pick my jaw up off the floor! Did you just say AMD? YOU!?!? liar.

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            I’ve had AMD before. But then Intel came up with Core and AMD started sucking, so I haven’t had anything AMD (except GPUs) for years.

            I’m not opposed to buying AMD, but there just hasn’t been a compelling reason for me to do so for a long time

            • Thatguy
            • 7 years ago

            Sad but true at least on the CPU end of things from AMD.

    • jdaven
    • 7 years ago

    If 17W Trinity chips live up to expectations I believe AMD will start to dominate the “ultrathin” category. Same as they did with Brazos in the netbook category.

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      Why do AMD fanbois keep doing this to themselves with unrealistic expectations? How could AMD possibly “dominate” this category? They have 1/10th the resources of Intel, don’t have 22nm or tri-gate.

      The only reason Brazos appeared to be doing well was because Intel was lazy, didn’t care about graphics in the low end, and didn’t even bother using their best process node for Atom. None of that applies to Ultrabook category.

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        well, i don’t think amd will dominate anything, but i’m not sure i really see the advantages of tri-gate or 22nm. so far it’s not blowing me away. ivy bridge is a fine cpu, but the gpu isn’t as fast, image quality aside. What MATTERS is power usage/performance/batterylife. If amd can get decent performance/batterylife out of it’s 32nm trinity stuff, with superior graphics, why do i care about HOW? i’m not saying they will, i doubt they will, but i’m saying merely HAVING trigate and 22nm means nothing.

        I don’t really care about cpu performance these days, haven’t for years. as long as it’s as fast as a c2d in single threaded, with a few extra cores, i’m happy. that’s all i need.

          • Vasilyfav
          • 7 years ago

          For integrated solutions, gpu “power” was never the issue. It’s sufficiency. Once you reach a certain threshold of gpu power for an integrated solution, the benefits of additional power decrease.
          In economics we would call this the marginal benefit concept. The marginal benefit of additional GPU power must be higher or at least equal to the marginal benefit of CPU processing power. Imagine 2 functions, each a square root of the respective processing power.

          This is especially true for ultrabooks, which won’t be gaming machines anyway, so GPU power is something of a moot point when comparing Intel/AMD solutions.

          It just seems funny to me when people claim they care more about GPU in an integrated solution than the CPU for no other reason than to make AMD “win” in their argument, when in reality you should be comparing either both equally or just compare them for specific tasks.

          If you are content with c2d performance, then I’m honestly content with HD 4500 performance as my IGP.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            The thing is though, the exact same argument applies to CPU power.

            I think the average consumer is more likely to do some light gaming then encode their BluRay collection on their Ultrabook.

            • cygnus1
            • 7 years ago

            exactly this. whoever can get the best GPU performance and a 900p or better screen in an ultrabook chassis is going to get my money

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            Don’t you care about battery life at all?

            • cygnus1
            • 7 years ago

            absolutely. i should amend that, to include a target of 8 hours on battery doing non-intensive, non-gaming tasks. but honestly it’s not super critical. the only time my personal laptop will be completely away from power options is when i’m traveling and in airports, and even then there’s often an outlet around somewhere.

            i typically will permanently place the original ac adapter by where i most use the laptop. and then buy 2 extra ac adapters and keep one strategically placed where i second most often use the laptop and then keep the other in the laptop bag. if the vendor uses an OEM adapter like LITE-ON or you can figure out an equivalent, they can be pretty cheap. the ones i bought for my little 13″ acer were only $20 a piece and are the same part number as the original that came with the laptop.

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            For you, the best option might be some Ultrabook with NVidia graphics. You know: best gaming performance, high-resolution display and strong battery life.

            Or are you going to amend your list to include some price points as well…?

            • cygnus1
            • 7 years ago

            that would be good with me. the only issue with that right now really is heat. i have a 13″ acer that’s pretty close to ultrabook thinness and has an optimus enabled gt540 in it. it works great, but i just have to make sure the vents aren’t blocked whatsoever or it gets hot enough for me to be worried. and it gets a solid 8 hours on battery when not using the dGPU. I don’t know if the heat issue is bad acer engineering or if it’s just the dGPU wasn’t meant to be in a system that small. if the next gen nvidia can fit in an ultrabook and not melt it, I’ll go for that.

            bottom line, i want a portable computer as close in size to an ultrabook as possible that can play something like skyrim or civ 5, without being choppy and with decent quality settings, at the laptops native res (which should be at least 900p at around 13″ or 14″), and when not playing that kind of game get between 7 and 10 hours on battery. let’s call it a Desktop Replacement Ultrabook™.

            I really don’t care which cpu or gpu combo gets that done and I’m willing to spend apple money on it if somebody can produce it

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<]It just seems funny to me when people claim they care more about GPU in an integrated solution than the CPU for no other reason than to make AMD "win" in their argument[/quote<] This. People's biases force them to pick a side regardless of facts, and then they scramble to justify their choice with any random argument they can come up with.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            it makes perfect sense. I want to play video games. i can do that with trinity, not with ivy. that’s the point. i want to work AND play. it’s not about arbitrary benchmarks, it’s about HON.

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            [quote<] i can do that with trinity, not with ivy.[/quote<] You don't know that yet; especially in the context of Ultra/Sleek-books/thins

            • madseven
            • 7 years ago

            If they cant play games properly on ivy with the desktop version what makes you think that they would be able to do that with the notebook version of ivy bridge especiallly in the ultrabook category?

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            What makes you think a 17W Trinity is going to play games “properly”?

            • chuckula
            • 7 years ago

            Hey Neely… I have you on record as saying that the 17 watt Trinity will destroy Ivy Bridge at games. Of course, it’s possible that neither one will actually be able to play games well so Trinity will “win” but still lose at the same time.

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            You know me – I play both sides, and my ‘side’ can change from debate to debate..

            • Vasilyfav
            • 7 years ago

            I don’t want to play games on my ultrabook. I want to process my photographs in Lightroom and Photoshop.

            Therefore Intel wins in my book.

            Unless you have hard statistics for numbers of people who play games vs people who use CPU for graphic work or to do some light video encoding on the move, your argument carries no more weight than mine.

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            sure, and that’s fair, but in my case, it’s game chops i’m after.

            • SPOOFE
            • 7 years ago

            It just seems mutually exclusive, seeking “game chops” from a platform designed to focus on portability and power efficiency. It’s like looking to buy a tuxedo so you could play football.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            But wanting to do serious photo editing is fine?

            • SPOOFE
            • 7 years ago

            Yes. Photos don’t start skipping frames if your processor is maxed.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 7 years ago

            And games won’t skip on a Trinity with the appropriate settings, what’s your point?

            • sweatshopking
            • 7 years ago

            so. i like football in a tux. if i can have that with trinity, what’s the problem?

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<]merely HAVING trigate and 22nm means nothing. [/quote<] Sure. But what trigate/22nm does to performance and power consumption means a lot.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]They have 1/10th the resources of Intel, don't have 22nm or tri-gate.[/quote<] I've never seen anyone browsing the laptops at Best Buy or Walmart say, "Hey, this one is only $300! Oh...nevermind. It doesn't have 22nm tri-gate transistors." [quote<]The only reason Brazos appeared to be doing well was because Intel was lazy...[/quote<] That would have to be, "still is lazy." [quote<]didn't care about graphics in the low end...[/quote<] Either doesn't care, or doesn't know how to fix their drivers, which have had a problem for every single generation of Atom. Isn't this more than one reason already? [quote<]and didn't even bother using their best process node for Atom.[/quote<] 32nm Atom still sucks because it's still the same old Atom. [quote<]None of that applies to Ultrabook category.[/quote<] Note $599 AMD laptop which won't call for a graphics card vs. $849-899+ for Intel equivalents with fancy 22nm tri-gate...and identical battery life ratings, according to Engadget. $749 models are still Sandy Bridge. This is [i<]exactly[/i<] what AMD did to Atom with Bobcat. At the time of its release, Bobcat was competing against single-core Atom netbooks, not the ridiculously overpriced dual-core + Ion netbooks. And now Intel knocked Sandy Bridge laptops all the way down to $300 to make up for it. Nearly $1,000 Ivy Bridge laptops aren't going to turn that around.

        • madseven
        • 7 years ago

        Maybe Brazos appeared to do so well was because intel still cant do anything with graphics in low or high end graphics… no matter how much money they have their cpu architecture with the current graphics suck

          • SPOOFE
          • 7 years ago

          Brazos did well because it came along when the market had already forgotten about Netbooks. They were a brief fad quickly replaced by tablets, remember?

          Good going, AMD, taking charge in a fading market segment. That’s the path to success!

      • blastdoor
      • 7 years ago

      the price diff here suggests to me that the rumor of a cheaper MacBook Air is totally believable, with the big caveat that AMD has to prove they can actually make their chips in volume and deliver on time. But if they can do that, I strongly suspect Apple will use them. I mean, why the heck not?

        • adisor19
        • 7 years ago

        One can only hope. Apple doesn’t like Intel very much with their whole Ultrabook push so of course they’d love to ship some AMD chips. It remains to be seen whether this time around, AMD can deliver the 17W parts in sufficient quantities for Apple.

        Adi

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<]It remains to be seen whether this time around, AMD can deliver the 17W parts in sufficient quantities for Apple.[/quote<] Unlikely, and there's also the question of if those AMD 17W parts can deliver

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]But if they can do that, I strongly suspect Apple will use them. I mean, why the heck not?[/quote<] Apple cares about performance and battery life. I know AMD has been promising all sorts of things regarding Trinity, but AMD also made promises about BD

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      I’ve got good news JDaven: Trinity will definitely outperform the non-existent Valve game box that you trumpeted based on Nvidia’s marketing when the rest of us knew weeks in advance that Nvidia was just yapping about the GTX 690. Next time, don’t call everyone else on this website an idiot for using our brains to make correct predictions instead of goose-stepping to whatever irrational fantasy you’ve cooked up.

        • jdaven
        • 7 years ago

        You are quite a hate-filled little man.

        And yes I was wrong about the Nvidia announcement.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 7 years ago

    Isn’t it sad that you look at the mac book and are literally eager to put money in apples hands despite hating the os simply because other hardware venders simply fail to successfully design beautiful and functional devices… 🙁

      • Vasilyfav
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, unfortunately even the worst haters have to admit that when it comes to exterior design / form, Apple is unsurpassed.

      • adisor19
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t think it`s just the design that matters. The UX31 looks pretty good but try and use that track pad and you’ll be swearing no time.

      I’m pretty sure if other manufacturers manage to implement a proper touch pad and a decent LCD for a cheaper price than the equivalent MBA, it would sell like hot cakes. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to see such a beast.

      My UX31 has a decent screen but the touch pad is useless.

      Adi

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 7 years ago

        Doesn’t Apple have a patent on touchpads?

          • Beelzebubba9
          • 7 years ago

          No, just a patent on touchpads that don’t suck. 🙂

      • Mourmain
      • 7 years ago

      I was waiting for a nice business-class laptop from HP or Dell or Lenovo, but they seem to only introduce crappy changes to their new lines. If none of them come up with better screens, I might seriously have to consider a matte screen Macbook Pro, especially if they have the ultra-high resolutions on them.

      The only contender is actually… Samsung, with its [url=http://www.notebookcheck.net/Samsung-900X3B-A01-Series-9-Laptop-Review.74151.0.html<] series 9 ultrabook [/url<]. Its only downside is Sandy Bridge, but it should get Ivy soon, I hope.

    • cygnus1
    • 7 years ago

    If one of the options on the 14″ AMD ones is a 900p or 1080p screen, I’m down for that. I think 17W Trinity systems will be a pretty good compromise on price/performance.

      • khands
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, 1600×900 minimum would be great on a 13.3″ screen.

    • yogibbear
    • 7 years ago

    1366×768………

      • Faiakes
      • 7 years ago

      Pointeless…

      Why on earth would I pay $999 for a laptop with a mere 1366*768 resolution?

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      KAAAHN!!

      • sweatshopking
      • 7 years ago

      that’s not the biggest issue, the biggest issue is that only intel is available smaller than 15.6 inches. I’d love a 13 inch trinity, and i’m wondering why it’s not an option. Maybe the chip is a hot bastard even though it’s only 17w?

      i can handle that res, it’s not amazing, but i’ll survive. For 599$ trinity 13 inch, i’d be happy with it. I do NOT want a 16inch monster. wtf am i going to do with that?

        • allreadydead
        • 7 years ago

        A 13″ trinity with SSD@$599…. Now, that’s would a be good deal. Then, I might think about buying 1366×768 13″ notebook

        • Vasilyfav
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]I do NOT want a 16inch monster. wtf am i going to do with that?[/quote<] Incidentally, that is also what she said.

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]I'd love a 13 inch trinity, and i'm wondering why it's not an option. Maybe the chip is a hot bastard even though it's only 17w? [/quote<] Maybe you need a giant battery to keep Trinity battery life in the 8h range, and you can't fit that into a nice, sleek 13-incher...?

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          this is my question.

      • link626
      • 7 years ago

      on lcd websites, a 900p screen only costs $25 more.

      why don’t they just pass the $25 cost onto the customer, and make the 900p standard….

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