A couple of weeks ago we talked about Intel’s Basic notebook segment, which has a lot going for it. Priced between $199 and $349, these “basic” products feature 10- to 15.6-inch displays, at least 2 gigs of RAM and 320GB to 500GB HDDs.
The first Bay Trail-M notebooks to hit the market were dual-cores, based on Celeron N28xx and N29xx parts. The first SKUs were announced as far back as October, but plenty of products were announced in November or December and they are already shipping. Prices start at €249/$249 for entry level devices like the Acer Chromebook C710 or the Acer Aspire E1 (sans OS). There are a number of Bay Trail Celeron notebooks available for under €300 and they are hardly newsworthy, since they have been shipping for weeks.
However, the first quad-core devices are starting to appear and they look even more promising. Most of them are still not available, but they are listed and they are coming. Prices start at €299 for the Acer Aspire E1 510-3520 running Linux, which is based on the Pentium N3520 processor. It packs 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, DVD burner 15.6-inch 1366x768 display and USB 3.0 connectivity. The processor itself is a quad-core Bay Trail-M part clocked at 2.17GHz, but it can hit 2.42GHz on Turbo.
Asus has the X551 based on the Celeron N2920, which is clocked at 1.86GHz or 2.0GHz on Turbo. The rest of the spec includes 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive, optical drive and Windows 8. Toshiba chose the 2.0GHz Pentium N3510 for the Satellite Pro NB10 and the N3520 for the Satellite C50, which also features 8GB of RAM. Both are listed for under €400 in Europe.
The pricing is very impressive indeed. By comparison, the cheapest AMD Jaguar laptop is the HP 255 G1. It is powered by an A4-5000 quad-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz. The rest of the spec is in line with Bay Trail offerings – 4GB RAM, 500GB hard drive, optical drive, low-res 15.6-inch screen. There are a number of A4-5000 and A6-1450 (Temash) notebooks on the market and prices usually range from €340 to €400. Aside from somewhat better graphics, some vendors are shipping hybrid storage with their Jaguar notebooks, mostly 500GB + 8GB SSD configurations.
We were expecting Kabini notebooks to end up somewhat cheaper than Bay Trail-M products, but judging by the first listings this simply isn’t the case. Intel’s aggressive pricing indicates that the company is willing to fight for market share even in this segment.
On another note, both Jaguar and Bay Trail-M have made dirt cheap quad-core notebooks possible and marketers should love them. We guess retailers will have no trouble shifting €299 products with quad-core stickers on them. Sadly though, most of these cheap products were not designed for low-power processor from the ground up, so they are bulky and unnatractive as ever. On the other hand, since they were designed to accommodate much beefier processor, most of them ship with 4-cell batteries that should provide excellent battery life.