Best MacBook Air Rival Yet? Gigabyte Unveils Most Powerful Ultrabook Ever, With Thunderbolt, Unknown Nvidia GPU

Taiwanese company Gigabyte has launched two new Ultrabooks at Cebit in Germany, the U2442N and V; the main difference between the two is that the first runs on a standard voltage Intel Ivy Bridge Core i5 or i7 processor while the V is powered by an Ultra Low Voltage Ivy Bridge Core i5 or i7 processor.

Both however have some features unseen in other Ultrabooks on the market; features that could propel Gigabyte amongst the top three models on the market when it comes to value for money.

Although both boosted a form factor of up to 20.5mm and weighed 1.49Kg, they come with a 14-inch screen with a 1,600 by 900 pixel display. Only the Asus Zenbook UX31 has such a high screen resolution on a smaller screen size (13.3-inch).

The U2442 series is also the first to come with an optional Thunderbolt interface. It is actually the first x86 device we know of that sports Intel's next generation wired connector, one which has been restricted to Apple for now.

Other features include Bluetooth 4.0, a webcam, 802.11n Wi-Fi (with 2T2R Double Antenna), a D-Sub connector, HDMI socket, four USB ports (two USB 3.0 and two USB 2.0), an Ethernet port, a card reader and audio jacks.

Gigabyte chose to equip the U2442 with a backlit keypad and easy memory access, a boon. The other massive improvement is the new yet-to-be-announced Nvidia GeForce GT640M GPU with a whopping 2GB VRAM which is based on the Kepler architecture rather than Fermi.

SSD is available as an option unfortunately to keep down the price and Gigabyte bundles HDD with up to 1TB capacity. No news yet about battery life, pricing and availability. Given that Ivy Bridge has yet to be announced, one can expect the u2442 to be out early H2 2012.