With the constant flurry of ultrabook announcements, thin and light machines have lost some of their wow factor in recent months. Nonetheless, Asus' latest design is pretty attractive if you're on the prowl for a high-performance ultraportable notebook. The U46SV measures just under an inch thick at its thinnest point, yet it comes with Intel's full power Core i3-2310M, i5-2410M or i5-2520M processors, unlike the ULV-bound ultrabooks.
To accompany the full speed Sandy Bridge chips, Asus offers the machine with Nvidia's discrete GeForce GT 540M with a gig of DDR3 VRAM. The machine supports up to 8GB of DDR3 1333MHz of memory spread across two SO-DIMM slots, but most retail units will probably have 4GB. Storage varies depending on the specific model, with mechanical drives spanning from 320GB to 750GB, including both 5400 and 7200RPM spindle rates.
Despite its inch-thick body, the U46SV finds room for a DVD drive, though we'd like to see models with this swapped for an optional flash drive. The system also carries a 14-inch 1366x768 display, a 0.3MP webcam, a 4-in-1 card reader, wired and wireless network connectivity along with optional support for Bluetooth 3.0. Connectors include two USB 2.0 ports, one USB 3.0 port, HDMI and VGA outputs, as well as microphone and speaker jacks.
The system is available for preorder through ExcaliberPC with an estimated ship date of October 1. That particular unit is priced at $879 (supposedly $20 off the MSRP) and comes with a two-year warranty, which includes free two-way overnight shipping for repairs. It's outfitted with an i5-2410M, 4GB of RAM, a 640GB HDD, and an eight-cell 5600MAh battery life that fetches up to nine hours of runtime and pushes the total system weight to 4.85lbs.
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