Overview / Main Features
The Acer Aspire Timeline series of laptops, of which the 3810T is the leading model of the trio of ultra mobiles introduced in April of 2009, is essentially Acer's answer to Apple's ultra-thin & ultra-mobile MacBook Air laptop computer. The Aspire 3810T mimics the MacBook Air's thin profiles, boast a similarly spec'ed LED backlite 13.3 inch display and even includes a "chiclet style keyboard originally pioneered by Apple. Also, just as a matter of necessity, the Acer Aspire 3810T jettisons the optical drive in order to keep size and weight to a minimal.
However, physical design similarities aside, the Acer Aspire Timeline laptops differentiate on a different dimension - namely, that of battery life. The Acer Aspire Timeline laptops boast an 8+ hour of battery life from its 5600mAh battery pack. Key to the impressive battery stamina is the use of low current consumption parts such as the LED backlit display and the use of an Intel SU3500 ultra low voltage CPU.
The Acer Aspire Timeline 3810T under analysis here features an Intel Mobile Core 2 Solo processor running at 1.4GHz supported by Intel GS45 Express chipset, 13.3 inch WXVGA LED backlit LG Display, a 320GB Hitachi 2.5 inch hard disk drive @ 5400 rpm and 4GB of DDR3 random access memory [in two 2GB SODIMM modules]. The Aspire 3810T also features an Intel WiFi Link 5100 half mini PCIe WLAN module supporting IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n as well as an integrated 1 megapixel webcam.
Ultra portable Laptop PC
Pricing and Availability
Pricing - Based on the configuration of the device under analysis, the Acer Aspire 3810T retails for approximately $850 at the time of writing (source: Amazon.co.uk, August 2009).
Availability - currently available only in the Western European markets
For the purposes of this teardown analysis, we have assumed a lifetime production volume of 500K units.
As a reminder, teardown volume production assumptions are primarily used for our cost analysis in terms of amortized NRE and tooling costs, especially for custom components specific to the model being analyzed (mechanical components especially). Unless assumed, volumes increment by an order of magnitude. Minor changes in volume (say 1 million vs. 2) rarely have a large net effect on our final analysis.
Major Cost Drivers (Representing ~88% of total materials costs)
Intel - AV80585UG0173M-SLGFM - CPU - Mobile Intel Core 2 Solo Processor, 1.4GHz, 3MB L2 Cache, 800MHz FSB, 45nm
LG Display - LP133WH2-TLA3 - Display Value Line Item - 13.3' TFT LED Backlit LCD, Widescreen, 1366x768 (WXGA), 16.7M Color, 293.0mm x 164.2mm Viewable Area, 16:9 Aspect Ratio, 200cd/m^2 Brightness
Hitachi - HTS545032B9A300 - Hard Drive - 320GB, SATA 3Gb/s, 2.5', 5400rpm, 8MB Buffer
Samsung Semiconductor - M471B5673EH1-CF8 - SODIMM DDR3 - 2GB, 1Gb x 16, PC3-8500 (Qty:2)
Intel - AC82GS45-SLB92 - Northbridge / Graphics - Mobile Intel GS45 Memory Controller and Graphics Hub, 65nm Process
Simplo Technology - AS09D70 - Battery Pack - Li-ion, 11.1V, 5600mAh, 56Wh
Tripod Technology - 8-Layer - FR4/RCF HDI, 2+4+2, Lead-Free
Intel - AM82801IUX-SLB8N - Southbridge - I/O Controller Hub(Intel ICH9M-SFF)
Intel - 512AN_HMW - WLAN Half Mini PCIe Module Value Line Item
Lite-On - PA-1650-22 - AC Adapter - 19V, 3.42A, 65W, w/ 6ft Cord & Velcro Strap
Darfon Electronics Corp. - MSK-AMK0G - Keyboard Assembly - Injection Molded Spring-Action Plastic Keys, Mounted on Stamped Metal Plate
Enclosure, Main, Bottom - Injection Molded Flame Retardant ABS-Polycarbonate, Printed, w/ 38 Brass Inserts & ESD/EMI Coating, Recyclable
Enclosure, Main, Top - Injection Molded Flame Retardant ABS-Polycarbonate, Printed, Painted, w/ 20 Brass Inserts & ESD/EMI Coating, Recyclable
Total BOM Cost $557.54
What Is Not Included in our Cost Analysis
The total materials and manufacturing costs reported in this analysis reflect ONLY the direct materials cost (from component vendors and assorted EMS providers), AND manufacturing with basic test. Not included in this analysis are costs above and beyond the material manufacture of the core device itself - cost of intellectual property, royalties and licensing fees (those not already included into the per component price), software, software loading and test, shipping, logistics marketing and other channel costs including not only EMS provider and the OEM's margin, but that of other resellers. Our cost analysis is meant to focus on those costs incurred in the manufacture of the core device and exceptionally in some circumstances the packaging and literature as well.
OEM/ODM/EMS Relationships / Manufacturing
Acer outsources 100% of their manufacturing to ODM/EMS partners. According to iSuppli's ""Global OEM Manufacturing and Design Analysis - Compute Platforms", Acer's major contract manufacturers in 2008 are Wistron, Compal Quanta and Inventec respectively in order of shares.
Country of Origin / Volume Assumptions
Based on markings, the unit was assembled in China. Furthermore, we have assumed that custom mechanicals (plastics, metals, etc. were sourced in China.
Country of origin assumptions relate directly to the associated cost of manufacturing, where calculated by iSuppli. In the cases of 'finished' sub-assemblies (such as LCD display), we do not calculate internal manufacturing costs, but rather assess the market price of the finished product in which case country of origin assumptions may or may not have a direct effect on pricing.
Remember also that labor rates are applied directly only to hand inserted components and systems in our bill of materials, and although regional assumptions do, these new rates do not have a direct effect on our modeled calculations of placement costs for automated SMD assembly lines. ""Auto" inserted components (such as SMT components) placement costs are calculated by an iSuppli algorithm which allocates a cost per component based on the size and pincount of the device. This calculation is affected by country or region of origin as well.
Design for Manufacturing / Device Complexity
Invariably, laptop computers represent some of the more complex and electronically dense devices. Manufacturing costs for more densely configured devices in inevitably higher than such products as desktops where assembly is facilitated and costs reduced by not having to resort to more sophisticated, costly and complex systems for such things as interconnect (flex cable, PCBs, etc.). Furthermore, higher density PCBs cost inherently more, as typically this affects board layer counts, via structures and complexity, etc.
With that said, the overall component count on the Acer Aspire 3810T came out to 1764 (excluding box contents), of which, 337 are mechanical in nature. Although this figure hovers on the high end of the spectrum for Windows based PCs, it is by no means the most complex mobile laptops - that honor belongs to Apple's line of MacBooks.
Component counts have a direct bearing on the overall manufacturing cycle times and costs, and also can increase or decrease overall yields and re-work. Our calculations of manufacturing costs factor counts and more qualitative complexities in the design. The cost of manufacturing is also, to some extent, decreased in this case because of assumed labor rate applied for China.
Note that manual labor has a much smaller effect on auto-insertion assembly lines (for the Main PCB, for example), where manufacturing costs are much more capital equipment intensive and driven by these investment costs.
Here is a summary of the major components used in the Acer Aspire 3810T design:
- Intel - AV80585UG0173M-SLGFM - Mobile Intel Core 2 Solo Processor
- Intel - AC82GS45-SLB92 - Mobile Intel GS45 Memory Controller and Graphics Hub
- Intel - AM82801IUX-SLB8N - I/O Controller Hub (Intel ICH9M-SFF)
- Samsung Semiconductor -M471B5673EH1-CF8 - SODIMM DDR3 - 2GB, 1Gb x 16, PC3-8500 (Quantity 2)
I/O & Interface
- iTE - IT8502E - I/O Controller
- Realtek - ALC269X-GR - Audio Codec
- Atheros - AR8131L-AL1E - Ethernet Controller
- Realtek - RTS5159-GR - Memory Card Reader Controller
- Parade Technologies - PS8101T - Level Shifter - 1-to-1 HDMI / DVI
- Sonix - SN9C236DJG - PC Camera Controller - 1.3MP, 15fps, USB 2.0 Compliant
- LG Display - LP133WH2-TLA3 - 13.3' TFT LED Backlit LCD, Widescreen, 1366x768 (WXGA), 16.7M Color, 293.0mm x 164.2mm Viewable Area, 16:9 Aspect Ratio, 200cd/m^2 Brightness
Storage - Hard Drive
- Hitachi - HTS545032B9A300- 320GB, SATA 3Gb/s, 2.5', 5400rpm, 8MB Buffer
WLAN - Half Mini PCIe
- Intel - 512AN_HMW
- Simplo Technology - AS09D70 - Battery Pack (Li-ion, 11.1V, 5600mAh, 56Wh)