Samsung announced its new X series of laptops this morning, and the company let a detail slip about the X120 portable that's less trivial than it may initially sound: the thin portable eschews Intel's netbook-oriented Atom line in favor of a new ultra-low-voltage (ULV) processor from Intel. The SU4100 ULV processor and its siblings will formally launch later this month and have been getting press recently under the internal Intel acronym CULV (for consumer ULV). These cheap ULV processors mark a subtle but important shift in the chipmaker's notebook strategy, and they also spell bad news for rival AMD.
Intel has been putting out ULV variants of its notebook chips for years; these parts have significantly lower power usage than their regular mobile counterparts, while keeping the same performance levels. Because of this combination of low power and high performance, they've historically commanded a significant premium over normal notebook chips, making ULV-based portables a rare, expensive, and often Japanese luxury.
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