Low power laptops go all day, use little power

- The Intel Atom processor used in small Netbook mobile computers has become popular for people looking to stay connected, but the arrival of larger laptops with ultra-low voltage chips may steal some of its mobile thunder.

New notebooks featuring Intel's CULV (consumer ultra low-voltage) processors will offer impressive battery life by drawing much less power.

New laptops featuring the CULV processor boast batteries that can approach eight-hours of use, using low voltage chips that require as little as one-sixth of the power of regular laptop CPUs. The energy-efficient computers can draw as little five watts when in use, compared to up to 35 watts for previous models.

Over time the energy savings will add up, minimizing the computer's carbon footprint.

Several companies have already introduced new notebooks around the platform, Acer, Asustek and Micro-Star International, to name a few, with more due out by summer. MSI has just released their sub-three-pound X-Slim X340 laptop, and although it has a 13.4-inch screen and is under an inch-thick, is currently listed on Amazon for a lightweight $799.

Lenovo has also announced the expected July arrival of their IdeaPad U350, running a CULV processor, which is starting at $649 with a similar-sized screen to the X-Slim, but will keep you tethered for a few hours more. Acer has taken a different approach, moving significantly past netbook sizes with the Aspire Timeline series sized at 13.3-, 14- and 15-inch models.

Netbook computers using the Atom processor, which debuted last, have smaller screens and offer battery life of approximately four hours.

Some of the new low power laptops will be on display at Computex Taipei, one of the world's largest shows and exhibitions.

Recently, Intel has been rumored to be working with Microsoft to require that manufacturers looking to load Windows 7 Start/Home Basic will have to keep screen sizes to smaller than 10.2 inches, down from the current 11.6 inches. This would further the new notebook trend to trade minor performance and weight concerns for lower prices and longer unplugged life.

With recent rumor and Intel slashing CULV vendor prices, a new genre of laptop is emerging. With the advent of further mobile evolution, the laptop market may very well become more affordable, even outside of netbook options.


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