What's CULVThe purpose of the CULV platform is to enable partners to produce thin, light, and relatively inexpensive laptops that offer more performance than the Atom range of netbooks. Currently, the Intel CULV is based around the full-fat mobile Core 2 architecture, with chips pared-down with respect to voltage, speed, cache, and cores.
Intel may well spin-off CULV to other architectures at a later date, but, right now, it can be thought of as Core 2 on a package and performance shrink. Add to this a range of already-available chipsets - 945GSE, GM45, GS45, et al - and it's easy to see how Intel has gently coerced notebook manufacturers into releasing a new genre of laptop.
Apple's MacBook Air was probably the first to use what we now term a a CULV platform, but Acer, MSI, ASUS, and Dell have been trotting out designs in 2009.
|Processors||Cores||Architecture||Process||Clock-speed||Cache||Price per 1K||Max TDP||Package size||Die size||Socket|
|Intel Core 2 Solo U2200||1||Core 2||65nm||1.20GHz||1MB L3||$262||5.5W||35mm x 35mm||143mm²||N/A|
|Intel Core 2 Solo ULV SU3500||1||Core 2||45nm||1.40GHz||3MB L3||$262||5.5W||22mm x 22mm||107mm²||BGA956|
|Intel Core 2 Duo U7700||2||Core 2||65nm||1.33GHz||2MB
||10W||35mm x 35mm||143mm²
|Intel Core 2 Duo SU9600||2||Core 2||45nm||1.60GHz||3MB L2||$289
||10W||22mm x 22mm||107mm²||BGA956|
|Intel Core 2 Duo L7700||2
||4MB L2||$307||17W||35mm x 35mm||143mm²||N/A|
|Intel Core 2 Duo P9600||2
||6MB L2||$348||25W||35mm x 35mm||143mm²||PGA478|
|Intel Atom N270||1
||1MB L2||£44||2.5W||22mm x 22mm||26mm²||PBGA437|
|AMD Athlon Neo MV-40||1
Now, CULV is an all-encompassing term that denotes low-voltage Intel mobile processors. We've grouped five such CULV chips together, ranging from single-core to dual-core, 65nm production to 45nm process. In general, CULV's characterised by chips with a TDP of between 5.5W-10W, and we expect the SU3xxx and SU9xxx range to make up the bulk of sales. Note how a full-fat Core 2 P9600 can consume around 25W on its own.
What's important to understand is that the CPU is just one part of the equation. The Atom N270 looks mightily power-frugal with a maximum TDP of just 2.5W. Add in a 945GSE chipset and that can rise to 11W or so. The CULV range combined with a GM45/GS45 chipset should pull no more than 23W under load, which is roughly the same as AMD's Yukon (Neo MV-40 and X1250 chipset). Further, with respect to battery life, the average and near-idle power consumption are perhaps the more important figures.