Hands up, has anyone wanted a Macbook Air? I’m not one of them, but I’m sure a few people would like something that thin and light. And breakable. But anyway, the Ultrabook variants Intel is releasing are very spiffy themselves, if a tad bit unaffordable for most. And latest news is that Intel wants 75 more variants from manufacturers in this year alone.

Intel might be a bit over-optimistic in that regard. It expects 40% of all notebook shipments and sales to be of Ultrabooks this year, and witht he launch if Ivy Bridge processors this year might actually get close enough to that. We’ve only had the Ultrabook category for 9 months, and already 25 different models have been seen in the retail sector. Intel has granted a $300 million investment into the new form factor as well and expects things to take flight and be more autonomous later this year towards December.

But what things am I talking about here? Ultrabooks are notebooks in the same vein as the Apple Macbook Air. They lack DVD drives and mostly come with solid state storage or regular mechanical drives. The notebooks are driven by low-voltage Intel processors, come with a generous amount of RAM, a 13.3″ to 14″ LED-backlit screen (some with IPS panels) and all retail for more than R8000. AMD is expected to rival Ultrabooks with the release of the Trinity APU and chipset this year, and might regain some of the market share they traditionally held in the budget segment thanks to their superior integrated graphics.

Ultrabooks are available for purchaes from Game, Makro, DION Wired, Incredible Connection and other brick-and-mortar PC stores. Online you can find them everywhere, but I’d suggest start looking up Laptopdirect, Incredible Connection Online, Takealot and Prophecy Shop for starters. While there are occasionally bargains, I’ve yet to see an Ultrabook drop below the R8000 price point.

Update: Apparently Acer offers a very affordable Ultrabook for under R8000, available at Incredible Connection.

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