Ultrabooks to Rearrange Chip Requirements For Notebooks

Market researchers from IHS believe that the market volume of ultrabooks could hit 136.5 million units by 2015, up from not even 1 million this year. While these devices offer a major opportunity for sensors as well as power and analog semiconductors, memory makers may not be so happy about their future. It's somewhat unlikely that many users would be able to handle memory upgrades in ultrabooks.

IHS noted that the ultrabook may be considered a notebook, but it is really a new category as it "requires changes in design and component selection compared to conventional mobile PCs" in order to achieve its thin and light form factor. Ultrabooks are generally less than 0.8 inches thick and have tablet-like features such instant-on operation, solid state drives and battery lives longer than eight hours on a single charge.

"In terms of usage of sensors, ultrabooks much more closely resemble media tablets than conventional notebooks," said Jérémie Bouchaud, principal analyst, MEMS and sensors, for IHS. "Media tablets make extensive use of such devices, incorporating MEMS microphones, accelerometers, gyroscopes and pressure sensors as well as non-MEMS devices like compasses, ambient light sensors and possibly proximity sensors. In contrast, today’s notebooks make relatively minimal use of sensors. With ultrabook shipments expected to rise to account for 42 percent of the notebook market by 2015, this represents a major growth opportunity for MEMS."

IHS said that media tablets in 2011 contain an average of $3.45 worth of sensors, compared to $0.51 for conventional notebooks, illustrating the huge opportunity for these devices in ultrabooks.

However, the outlook for DRAM is not so great. Ultrabooks will integrate memory that is permanently attached to the motherboard to achieve high-density product designs. Upgrade of the main memory will be a task that could be considered to be painful in some and impossible in other cases. IHS said that the ultrabook in 2015 will "reduce the number of upgrade notebook PC modules shipped by 13.5 percent, amounting to some 10.8 million units."

  • If the Ultra Books dont come standard w/ at LEAST 4gb or better, this will not be good for the enthusiast market.
  • -Fran-
    Standardize the chassis for notebooks while you're debating about this stuff too.

  • maigo
    cause the netbook thing REALLY took off
  • COLGeek
    As these will be more "closed" systems compared to current notebook offerings (upgradable memory and HDDs, for example), the designers of the ultrabooks better get it right from the beginning (in terms of memory and storage). Not really holding my breath on this one for those kind of projected numbers.
  • mikenygmail
    AMD should make a "superportable" featuring their upcoming Trinity APU and really put Intel to shame- Not that their current APU's haven't already.
  • sundragon
    maigocause the netbook thing REALLY took off
    IMHO - So take it with a grain of salt, haha:

    Netbooks will be killed by tablets because they are mostly used for the same purpose and tablets are more convenient.

    I will remind naysayers that the IT industry said the same thing about notebooks when they first arrived on the market. People thought they were only for road warriors, hampered by underpowered processors and low on storage/memory/battery life - people said the desktop was always going to outsell them – I remember reading this in PC Magazine in the 90s ☺

    Fast-forward to 2011 and the desktop sales are below notebook sales... What PC makers are facing the slowing of overall PC sales so they need to do something to increase sales. This directly affects Intel’s sales.

    Intel (and ARM) working to bring notebook/workstation power to ultrabooks making regular notebooks like the "desktop" of the PC world... It was a few years ago that "Workstation" class GPU was unthinkable in a notebook - just look at Alienware/Razer notebooks with impressive GPUs.

    That being said - For gaming the desktop form-factor will trump notebooks because of TDP, cooling and power. What I think they are betting on that if they bring an ultrabook that is as powerful as a regular notebook – people will upgrade and it will increase sales.
  • sundragon
    YukaStandardize the chassis for notebooks while you're debating about this stuff too.Cheers!
    ^ Agree totally!

    It would make upgrading all notebooks possible, but if they do that - people won't trade in and upgrade that's less $$ for them. Plus it's easier to jam everything in than following a modular design.
  • leandrodafontoura
    Simply ship them with 16GB memory
  • willard
    Gouki146If the Ultra Books dont come standard w/ at LEAST 4gb or better, this will not be good for the enthusiast market.Why would an enthusiast buy a computer with a 13" screen? These aren't for blasting through intense gaming sessions or racking up high benchmark scores for bragging rights. If you're looking for enthusiast class power in an ultrabook, you're looking in the wrong place.

    That said, less than 4GB of memory in any system these days is a pretty bad idea. In fact, if you actually checked you'd see that there aren't any ultrabooks with less than 4GB of memory.
  • SirGCal
    I think this is stupid for multiple reasons. But the most simple is that there are ways to make simple socket type connections for replacable memory that won't take more then 1-2mm of thickness compared to a directly soldered on board chip. Plus always the simple lay-down RAM designs current laptops use which take a whopping 8mm of vertical space... wee... I think greed is playing into this (forcing future upgrades due to non-upgradable of the individual parts) then the need to make it 'as thin as possible'. I'd much more prefer a 5mm thicker chassis for replaceable/upgradable memory, storage and batteries. For laptop/netbook/etc, these are at least my minimums of I won't purchase them. Heck, even my cellphone has upgradable storage...

    OR - if they really want to make it as 'thin as possible', the other option would be to make a newer memory format. Something like RAM speed micro SD cards. Very tiny, huge size capabilities, but right now the SD cards are just to slow to be used for that purpose. But RAM doesn't have to be a huge 'stick' as they are normally today. There's millions of other possible options aside from soldering directly to the board. That is the lazy and IMHO, greedy way out.