Published in PC Hardware

Texas Instruments to go for ultrathin notebooks

by on07 October 2011

With Windows 8
We got confirmation that Texas Instruments will go after Windows 8 and Android based ultrathin laptops. We didn’t get any specs, but the company's PR representative has confirmed TI is working on „OMAP processor-powered Windows 8 development, today we are primarily focused on mobile computing in tablets and ultrathin laptops.”

In our last chat with the boss of Nvidia's notebook division and Windows 8 driver development, Rene Haas said that he sees Tegra in a lot of notebooks in the next two years. It looks like that there should be a lot of tablets and thin notebooks to compete with Intel's ultrabook and judging by the fact that Windows 8 should ship in late 2012, this should be the time to get excited.

When it comes to Texas Instruments, OMAP 4 can run Windows 8, this has been demonstrated at CES 2011 and there is absolutely no question that OMAP 5 with 2+2 processor cores will do it even faster. OMAP 4 4430 is 45nm chip that runs at 1.0GHz. The soon to ship, OMAP 4460 works at 2x1.5GHz and it is rumoured it will appear in the Google Nexus. However OMAP 4470, the latest part to start sampling, works at two times 1.8GHz, again at 45nm, not at 40nm some other competitors chase.

OMAP 4 4470 should launch and ship in devices in first half of 2012, well before Windows 8 comes to market. OMAP 5 on the other hand is a 28nm chip that can run at up to 2GHz, which should be enough for some nice computing on Windows 8. For example, Sapphire’s Edge HD2 runs Windows 8 developers preview just fine and this nettop is based on Atom D525 dual core at 1.8GHz. Of course, we are talking about different architectures, but we believe upcoming ARM parts will have no trouble with Windows 8.

Overall, it looks like there will be plenty of affordable solutions to run Windows 8 as ARM Cortex A9 chips in dual-core are selling for around $20 a chip while Intel wants more than $200 for its ultrabook chips. Even Atom is roughly two times more expensive than any dual-core ARM chip and vendors who opt for ARM will also save on batteries and cooling. It will be fun to see how they perform against each other.
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