Apple's Supply Chain Dominance Forcing Ultrabook Vendors to Opt for Fiberglass

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dentaku

I suppose we will eventually see notebooks made of graphite too. They make hockey sticks with it because it's light and strong.
Fiberglass is still a cheaper material though and at least it doesn't dent like aluminium.

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dgrmouse

Dismissing the entertaining discussion of meritorious metals for a moment, I will say that it seems laptop vendors are bound and determined to find reasons that an ultrabook can't be sold for under $1,000.  It was bold of Intel to specify platform price, and I hope they back it up by offering up some systems for retail under their own branding.

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Happy

Well put.

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Scatmanbrandt

I can see Fiberglass being a good component to use, It's very durable and lighter then most metals of comparable thickness. I could see some companies opting for carbon fiber though, of course in that thickness it would be about the same weight and strength as fiberglass but would cost alot more to make but also look cooler. Maybe if vendors like alienware decide to make an ultrabook they would go for that.

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stradric

I'm not aware of any mass production methods for carbon fiber.  It typically needs to be hand-laid in sheets.  The material is expensive and it's labor-intensive, so it wouldn't make a good fit for this.  Graphite maybe.  Fiber glass can be injected into a mold though, so there's clear benefits in mass production.

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Holly Golightly

Perhaps it would be better if they went with steel. It is of much higher quality than magnesium aluminum. To be honest with you, aluminum is easy to bend. Steel may be heavy, but people rather have something more durable than than something that is fragile.

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zaphodbeeblebrox 42

the problem with steel is that it is heavy like you said, and if you have ever carried around a gaming laptop you'll know just how heavy they can be ( gaming laptop's arent made from steel. atleast not my m11x. but i was using them a an example of how a heavy laptop is not fun to hull around). it rusts. and is also very malleable like aluminium so it will bend qutie easily espacially since it is goign to be made thinner to make up for the added density of steel.

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Holly Golightly

Hmm, I am not sure if my old gaming laptop is made of steel or not. It is a Dell XPS m170 and that thing was heavy. Scary to say, I dropped that thing twice. It did not dent or crack. But some of the paint did chip off because of the sudden drops. That thing is heavy, but it is built to last, even if the technology outdates incredibly fast. Of course, this laptop is old (April 2006) but with my careless ways, is in good shape somehow. When the paint chipped, the metal was a dark gray. So I am not sure if it is steel, but whatever that was, they should make the new ones of this grade. Maybe this 11 pound baby was made out of a different type of aluminum alloy. I really do not know.

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zaphodbeeblebrox 42

try putting a magnet to your case. no it doesnt hurt your pc like everyone say it does. i do it to my pc just to prove them wrong. (unless it is an old crt monitor. then it can mess them up.)

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Holly Golightly

I am pretty confident my old laptop is made of steel. Otherwise, it would have died long ago. I have to check to see if a magnet does stick to the laptop now... Thanks.

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gthompson83

Not to grief you but steel would be a really bad idea (unless it's true stainless steal which is expensive and heavy).  Steel is ferrus, which mean it contains iron, which means it is magnetic, which would probably not do so well with computer components.  Oh and it would rust.

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Holly Golightly

There are plenty of cases that are made of steel. Maybe not 100% steel for things like hard drive caddies and power buttons... But the over overall structure of some are made of steel. NZXT Phantom, Antec 1200/900, and even the Thermaltake Level 10. Perhaps these cases use a special kind of paint that does not cause the motherboard to short. I am not sure. I do not understand why they can not use the same materials found in these cases onto laptops besides the weight. As for the rust, none of my steel things have rusted... At least none that I know of. Only my bike had rusted, but that is because it has been in the rain of course.

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Gezzer

I've never had a laptop apart, but I don't think they use standoffs like in desktop cases. Which by the way is why you don't normally have a shorting problem, but it does happen once in a blue moon.

As well while aluminium on it's own is quite pliable, the laptop cases are an alloy which isn't the same thing. Google aluminium alloy and you'll find it states that they have one third the elasticity of steel and steel alloys.

Fiberglass is a  kind of a good replacement for aluminium alloy cases except for a couple of things. Fiberglass can be a bit more brittle then the normal laptop case, and the resin can be reactive with more chemicals. Fiberglass will have a top coat to seal it, but it's still a chemical not a metal, so you need to be a bit more careful.

I know the last fact first hand. An ex-girlfriend's dad had a old Toyota in really good condition, or so I thought. I was filling it's gas tank one day and a bit of gas spilled on the car as I pulled out the nozzle. Turns out that area, and about a third of the car was fiberglassed (her dad's DIY idea) to repair rust. Well the gas caused the fiberglass top coat and even a bit of the under lying resin to react with it. Not a pretty sight. Come to think of it I think that was when the relationship started to take a nose dive.

Oh and missing an important dinner because me and a buddy were landing some nice big Coho all day and lost track of time, yeah that might of had something to do with it.

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Caboose

Laptops use plastic standoffs molded in to the bottom of the chassis. Look at the bottom of a laptop, and each of those screws are for a standoff. I've taken apart enough laptops to know this.

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