CES is just a few short days away, and in keeping with tradition, the rumor mill has been working overtime to try and leak announcements in advance of the massive event. In the laptop space Intel has been making our job easy since new Arrandale based Core i3 machines have been popping up for sale around the web, and the good news here is that they are much cheaper than we would have expected based on it being a new architecture. Canadian based retailer Future Shop is offering a Core i3 based Gateway machine for less than $700 USD, or for just $70 more, you can opt for the Toshiba Satellite with a slightly larger display.
Core i3 is the new budget platform from Intel offering most of the advantages of the Core i5 and i7 parts, with the key exception being a lack of Turbo-Boost. The Core i3's will also only come in a dual-core design, and will have slightly smaller caches than there more expensive brethren. Arrandale specific benefits include Intel's fastest integrated graphics solution which is now built directly onto the CPU, and Hyper-Threading support which will make a huge difference for applications that are heavily multi-threaded. The new 32-nanometer design also promises to be much more power efficient, always a plus where you're talking about laptops.
Let's just say now is a great time to be on the market for a new laptop, but I'd still hold out until CES if I were you.