A visit to the equivalent of the Leicester Square Porcupine Pub in Old San Francisco has revealed just how worried Intel is about ARM, and how keen it is to keep down the bill of materials on its Ultrabooks.
A recent presentation seen by TechEye to Intel partners has, as its very first slide, the telling message that Intel believes that in order to compete with ARM machines, they must stress that an Ultrabook will give a full PC experience, whereas ARM won’t.
Intel is taking several steps towards a design based on Haswell, and thinks that the Ultrabook will appeal to the man and woman in the street, as well as enterprises.
Intel believes the price of Ultrabooks should be very competitive, and has told its partners that it will invest more in the next few years to drive the Ultrabook platform, including WiDi and Compute Continuum.
Basically there are two sets of specs – Huron River, based on Sandy Bridge 17W and one based on Chief Riber and Ivy Bridge at 17W.
For Huron, Intel is suggesting a thinness of between 18 and 21 millimetres for 14 inch systems, with a recommended eight hours battery line, although it will be prepared to compromise on five hours. Huron River must have, at least wi-fi, include anti-theft and be suitable for both Windows and the Mac OS.
Chief River has similer thinness specs and battery specs, but is recommending an awake time of less than seven seconds, wi-fi, and something called programmable pull updating, and also include USB 3.0. It is recommending that Chief River will also include touch, accelerometers, proximity stuff, and GPS.
It is telling its partners that in 2011 only Sandy Bridge 17W CPUs will be included under the Ultrabook umbrella. Next year, Ivy Bridge will be pulled in too.
Of course, the big question is the bill of materials (BOM), which we have highlighted as a problem for the Taiwanese OEMs already. Intel is recommending prismatic batteries, low panel power, and type four motherboards, as well as SSDs rather than them spinning things.
Here are some estimated BOMs. An SV system will come to between $390 and $420, using plastic skins; a 17W 21-millimetre version will have a BOM of between $480 and $640; while an 18 millimetre nptebook with 24GB cache and an SSD can cost between as little as $500 or as much as $720.