Intel's plastic position on ultrabook chassis
Subject: General Tech | September 8, 2011 - 12:03 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: ultrabook, plastic and fibreglass, MiTAC Technology, Intel
A metal chassis, such as the magnesium- aluminium alloy we have seen on various Ultrabooks, is not actually in the specifications Intel set for manufacturers. It has been used because the incredible thinness that is specified would make a plastic chassis far too flexible and could cause the internal components to deform to the point they become damaged. The problem with the metal chassis is the expense, they do add to the cost of the Ultrabook and it seems that Intel is targeting that expense as the next price cut to the Ultrabook in an attempt to drop it below $1000.
They are working with a company called MiTAC Technology to develop a fibreglass and plastic material that will be much less expensive than a metal alloy case but still have enough rigidity for ease of use and to protect the internals. DigiTimes points out that fibreglass is much easier to colour than metal which could result in a case that is as attractive as brushed aluminium. The all-in-one PCs that they sell do include a touch screen so there must be some firmness to MiTAC's materials.
One of MiTAC's AIOs
"Intel has recently been aggressively cooperating with notebook chassis suppliers hoping to achieve the goal of dropping Ultrabook prices to below US$1,000, and Intel is currently focusing on pushing plastic and fiberglass hybrid chassis for the new machines, according to sources from the PC supply chain.
The sources pointed out that magnesium-aluminum alloy chassis are still the top choice for Ultrabooks, but limited by capacity and price, most of brand vendors are unable to offer an end price below the targeted US$1,000, and the three already-launched Ultrabooks from Acer, Lenovo and Toshiba are all estimated to have end price higher.
The sources also revealed that at one of Intel's recent supply chain conferences, Intel invited fiberglass chassis supplier Mitac Technology to participate and even had personnel from Mitac on stage to explain the technology which most of the attending suppliers believe is an indication for brand vendors to adopt the chassis."
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