First look at the Intel IvyBridge Ultrabook

Intel just sent me an IvyBridge Ultrabook to try out and review as a development machine. It’s not a final machine and won’t ever be sold by Intel. The main purpose of the machine is to show what can be built with Windows 8 and Intel components. To do so, it comes with sensors including:

  • 5 point multi-touch screen
  • accelerometer
  • magnetometer
  • gyroscope
  • ambient light sensor
  • GPS
  • NFC

I’m not sure how I’m going to integrate the usage of these sensors into web dev, but I can definitely see an opportunity with mobile apps.

I have had a lot of opportunity to play with other Ultrabooks on the market, so I was surprised that it wasn’t as thin and light as the others. Yes, it is a pre-production machine that will never be on the market, but they haven’t quite hit the mark with size and portability yet.

It shipped with a non-RTM version of Windows 8, so the first thing I did was install RTM on it. The OS installed quickly as did Office and Visual Studio. I was up and running with my normal tools in a couple of hours.

I haven’t done any real dev on this machine, but from what I’ve seen so far, it is fast. Switching apps, moving around Windows, using Office and IE are all instantaneous. I’m very curious to see how this thing does with 5 instances of Visual Studio and Resharper. My gut is that 4GB of RAM isn’t going to scale since each instance of VS usually takes about 500MB in resting state. They are definitely going to need to ship these with more RAM if they are to be considered a true dev machine.

I personally can’t use any laptop trackpad and keyboard for very long, but the trackpad and keyboard that ships with it is a little more difficult to use than other Ultrabooks I’ve used. I definitely need to figure out a way to set this up to work with my normal mouse and keyboard and multi-monitors.

I’ll do more in-depth reviews in the weeks to follow.


Disclosure of Material Connection: Like I mentioned above, Intel sent me the Ultrabook and are letting me keep the device so I can continue to give them feedback on it as a dev machine. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.