Intel claims new plastic chassis will rival aluminum in quality, price

By on June 4, 2012, 12:00 PM

Intel has announced what it considers to be a breakthrough in structural design for Ultrabooks and possibly other portables. The chip maker claims it has engineered a plastic chassis which rivals the solid aluminum unibody case designs made popular by Apple -- a continuous aluminum frame machined from a solid block of metal.

The new plastic chassis are expected to be a fraction of the cost and "equivalent in quality" to existing die-cast and machined aluminum frames. As a result, Intel believes the technology will perfectly mate with Ultrabooks, a class of laptops which aim to be unusually thin and light, yet maintain an experience significantly closer to using a full fledged laptop than the typical netbook offers.

Although Intel doesn't expound upon its somewhat remarkable claim, the company says the new frame design is the result of "structural reduction analysis". Intel told Reuters that its new design relies on existing materials can be produced using common manufacturing techniques. Consequently, Intel believes the improved chassis design may cut the cost of Ultrabooks between $25 to $75 per unit.

Intel appears to be taking cues from the aerospace and aircraft industries who are always striving for lighter but stronger materials. Reuters points out that Intel currently employs a number of former Boeing engineers, individuals who actually work on the R&D team responsible for the discovery.

According to the brief PR post, Intel will be sharing its new tricks with OEM partners soon. The company expects the improvements to make their way into production machines some time next year.




User Comments: 8

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Guest said:

$75 less sound good but on the price level I can personally buy one these days .. I will never do it ;)

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

$25 to $75

I would pay up to $100 extra for the metal frame. It feels better, and seems to hold up better.

To me this is worth the price, and plastic has not been good enough for me.... at least, what I've seen from manufacturers... Acer, HP, Dell, Lenovo... plastic is crap IMO

Guest said:

Go ahead and pay $100 more, it is your money. But this new plastic (did you see the word NEW) may be superior to aluminum. Who knows until they come out, my guess is it's got carbon fiber embedded in the plastic.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Of course they will say that. Companies are having a hard time meeting Intel's "Ultrabook" specs. Drop off some cost in the shell and its easier to make them under a grand.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

I hope so.

I loved the brushed aluminum on my Dell L702X.

Has a great feel and its truly scratch resistant. Just ask our furball cat.

We just ordered some HP Probook's for a department at work and they have brushed aluminum tops as well.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I have to wonder how this new plastic case will do thermally? One little advantage to the aluminum unibody is that can serve a secondary function as a large heat spreader, helping to minimize what would otherwise be some seriously hot spots.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'd be hard pressed if it was carbon fiber, more likely its a nylon blend, maybe with some fiberglass for stiffness. Technology that already exist, just being re-purposed then re-branded to be used in a different market. I do agree however that the feel of the aluminum laptops out now is very nice and I to prefer it to anything plastic.

Guest said:

Anyone dreaming that even a $75 cost reduction will go towards their own wallet is forgetting: cost savings go to shareholders, not consumers.

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