Is an ultra-thin laptop the future of PC gaming? We may have the answer to that in a short amount of time. Things are progressively moving forward with Intel's $300 million funding into the Ultrabook project, and not to mention the Razer Blade, which has been touted as PC gaming's saviour.
Intel is certainly building on the Ultrabook's premise on having a powerful, lightweight laptop that won't burn a large hole in your pocket. Portable computing has been on Intel's eye lately, what with a significant chunk of the business being encroached upon by tablet computers. Several manufacturers are already showing off a few Ultrabook flavored laptops: Toshiba's Portege Z830, Asus' UX31, and Acer's Aspire S3. These svelte form-factors are thinner, more affordable than a MacBook Air, and are equipped with a brawny dual-core i7 chip.
Gaming-wise, how do these Ultrabooks fare? The built-in Intel HD Graphics 3000 might not be the best option for an immersive, graphics-rich experience, but it does offer gamers an alternative. Current framerates on a few recent games are tolerable, especially when the graphics settings are dialed all the way down. PC Gamer demonstrated this in a recent playthrough with Deus Ex: Human Revolution on an Ultrabook- it was playable, albeit missing on the graphical bells and whistles.
As it stands right now, there's still a lot of work to be done if PC gaming is to flourish on these slender machines. The next year's batch of Ultrabooks, hopefully armed with meatier GPUs, are something to look forward to.