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Why so few i7 Mobile notebooks on the market?

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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November 10, 2009 11:08:00 PM

Sometime in the next few months I'm going to want to buy a quad-core notebook computer for my research.

But to my surprise, there are relatively few notebooks built around the 720QM or 820QM processors. For example, Dell and HP don't offer any notebooks in their business lineups that are based on those processors.

Instead, they still offer Txxxx or Pxxx processors for the low/mid end, and Qxxxx processors for the high-end. Even though the Qxxxx processors are insanely expensive and suck power far more than the newer 720QM / 820QM processors.

Anyone know why the vendors are doing the slow rollout?
a b D Laptop
November 10, 2009 11:33:51 PM

Quad cores aren't really necessary for most people in notebooks. Even among business goers, most of their notebooks are used merely for office applications. The dual core is the best balance between power and battery life. Most people who have quad cores can't utilize them, and have no need for them. Manufacturers cater to most people. Therefore, most of the notebooks are dual-core.
November 10, 2009 11:40:06 PM

I can see your point, but still, I would have at least expected Dell and HP to have updated their workstation-class laptops to use the i7 Mobile chips, rather than the Qxxxx chips.

Is it a product-line thing, maybe? I.e., can they use the same motherboard for both T9900 and Q3100 chips? So if they want to offer a dual-core option as well, they want to stick with using just a single motherboard choice for the whole product line?

If that is the case, maybe this problem will get better (from the perspective of my purchasing goal) once Intel release the 2-core i7 Mobile chips (620 series?) in early 2010.
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a b D Laptop
November 11, 2009 2:51:07 AM

They might also be using the consumer lines to see how many people want to adopt the new processors. If no one really seems to want them, then why bother or vice versa.

Quote:
Is it a product-line thing, maybe? I.e., can they use the same motherboard for both T9900 and Q3100 chips? So if they want to offer a dual-core option as well, they want to stick with using just a single motherboard choice for the whole product line?


As far as that goes, most of the Core2 lines use motherboards using the PM45 chipsets or some variant there of (there are actually quite a few of them). The i7's only use the PM55 and these are the only boards that support them. I think once they catch on a bit more, you will see Dell and HP update more of their lineups.
November 11, 2009 4:15:23 AM

Power consumption is also a factor. It will take a while to develope low power versions of the CPU.
a b D Laptop
November 11, 2009 4:27:27 AM

The low power chips are on the market already, they are just hugely expensive. The thing is, mass market laptop providers don't cater to the high end nor do all but 1 or 2 actually build laptops. IBM, Toshiba, HP, Dell, etc have all their laptops built by an ODM (Original Design Manufacturer). The "custom shops" included like Alienware, Falcon NW, VoodooPC, WidowPC use or have at one time or another used Clevo as their ODM.

Clevo has a US distributor named Prostar that sells you the same box as those other guys (sans fancy paint and logo for about 2/3 the price). Here's a model that can be configured with the i7 920XM mobile CPU

http://www.pro-star.com/index.cfm?mainpage=serial-price...

Expect to pay about $3k for an I7 920xm mobile equipped laptop built by an ODM distributor ....a bit more from a mass market label.
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