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Toshiba Portege Z830
Toshiba's Portege Z830 is cheaper, lighter, and better equipped than Apple's 13" MacBook Air

Manufacturers are still trying to work out final details on pricing for Intel-based Ultrabooks, but the devices are on the way. For those that like the form-factor and weight on Apple's highly popular MacBook Air range, but can't be bothered with Apple’s pricing or OS X, Toshiba is serving up a fine alternative with the Portege Z830. 

Toshiba has worked some serious magic on the Portege Z830 as it manages to incorporate a 13.3" display (1366x768) and second generation Intel Core processors into a frame weighing in at under 2.5 pounds. Part of the low weight can be attributed to the Portege Z830's magnesium alloy body.

Although Toshiba won't tell us how fast the processors are in the Portege Z830, the specs are quite amazing. It will come with a 128GB SSD, backlit and spill-resistant keyboard, two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, GbE port, Secure Digital reader, HDMI-out, and stereo speakers.

According to Engadget, the notebook features an 8-cell battery, can be equipped with up to 6GB of DDR3 memory, and will have an optional Core i7 processor upgrade available.

"The Portégé Z830 Series sets a new standard for thin and light systems, not just in portability, but also in affordability for such cutting-edge designs," said Carl Pinto, vice president of product development, Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., Digital Products Division. "Toshiba's engineering achievements and expert craftsmanship have resulted in a brilliant and fully thought-through innovation that exceeds expectations, perfect for both mobile business professionals and consumers." 

And keeping with Intel's mandate, the 0.63"-thin Portege Z830 will start at under $1,000 (we're guessing $999) when it launches later this year. That would make the lighter, better-spec'd Toshiba Ultrabook $300 cheaper than the entry-level 13" MacBook Air.

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By Tony Swash on 9/1/2011 3:43:34 PM , Rating: 1
That's....almost hysterical. Apple dictating power requirements to Intel? That's like Dolly Parton saying she lectured her DollyWood staff on gay-rights sensitivity after the T-shirt scandal.

Where's Apple going to go? Motorola? How about back to IBM so we can laugh about how the G5 is "4x faster than Intel platforms" - S Jobs.

The threat was real and had an effect - that's according to Intel itself. See towards the end of this interview with Greg Welch, director of Intel’s Ultrabook group

If Apple dumped Intel they would go ARM, they design their own chips and the development of next generation A6 chip is already well advanced. Apple have an OS (both the desktop/laptop MacOSX and the iOS variants) that can pretty much run on anything and they are a very big customer willing to pay big bucks up front to secure their supply pipeline. If anyone can threaten Intel it's Apple.

I note that the Portege Z830 (christ who names these things) is not actually shipping and there is no final price. No Air killer yet.

By Solandri on 9/1/2011 4:05:26 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure Apple pushed it (they're one of the few notebook manufacturers who've really championed long battery life), but I'd question just how big an effect it had in the big picture. CPUs are pretty much tapped out in terms of performance. Most people don't need faster CPUs, so there's very little market growth in that direction.

So rather than devote engineering resources to making CPUs faster, the obvious thing to do now is to maintain their speed while reducing power consumption. That's pretty much how AMD has managed to stay in business the last few years despite Intel's unassailable performance edge. So while I'm sure Apple's pressure pushed Intel to work harder, the lower-power CPUs we're seeing now would have come pretty quickly anyway. Intel already went through it with low-end netbooks and released Atom to stave off the tide. It (and integrated graphics) is the current battleline in the CPU wars.

the Portege Z830 (christ who names these things)

Funny you should say that. I was helping my cousin buy a Macbook, and it was endlessly frustrating how they don't come with model numbers. He'd find one at a good price, email it to me, I'd research, and tell him it's two generations old. I suppose it works well for Apple, having unsuspecting customers buy up their old stock at near-new prices. But it adds unnecessary hurdles to anyone trying to figure out exactly what it is you're buying. While the Portege's name may be awkward, getting its specs and finding a review for it will be as trivial as typing "portege z830" into google.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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