Intel launches low-voltage mobile processors

Intel Corp. launched 12 mobile processors today, ranging from its fastest mobile chip yet to the first 0.13-micron version of its entry-level mobile Celeron chip.

PCs using the new processors will be available from the top 10 U.S. vendors starting today, Intel said.

Meanwhile, rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. also began shipping a 1.1-GHz version of its low-cost Duron processor, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company said in a statement. The processor has a price tag of $103 in 1,000-unit quantities.

The new offerings are split between versions of Intel's high-end mobile chip, the Pentium III processor-M, which was formerly known as Tualatin, and its value-priced Celeron chips. The company also launched two new versions of its 830 chip set that feature integrated graphics controllers, said Frank Spindler, vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobile Platforms Group.

The new chips are aimed at the mini-notebook, subnotebook and tablet PC categories, Spindler said. "We are seeing good, solid growth in these segments as the world shifts to and desires even smaller notebook systems," he added. "The Pentium III mobile is now going to give us a huge boost in performance capability in these types of systems."

In the 0.13-micron Pentium III processor-M family, Intel launched its fastest mobile processor yet at 1.2 GHz, just slightly faster than the 1.13-GHz version the company launched in July. The 1.2-GHz offering has a 133-MHz front-side bus, which allows it to use PC133 synchronous dynamic RAM.

Two other processors run at 800 MHz, one with a 133-MHz front-side bus and one with a 100-MHz front-side bus. Intel also launched a 733-MHz chip with a 133-MHz front-side bus, and a 750-MHz chip with a 100-MHz front-side bus.

Intel has two versions of some of its chips; while both versions have the same clock speed, the difference is the speed of the path between the processor and the system's memory. Traditionally, they have featured identical pricing. Although it offers lower performance, the 100-MHz version of the bus allows the processor to run with slightly less expensive RAM.

In addition, Intel announced the ultralow-voltage 700-MHz Pentium III processor-M, which runs at less than 0.5 watts, the lowest power consumption of any mobile offering from the company.

The new processors show Intel focusing more on lowering power consumption, compared with the previous versions, in which the company focused on performance, said Kevin Krewell, an analyst at San Jose-based MicroDesign Resources. The launch of these products also took longer than expected, he said.

The delay could have been caused by Intel wanting to release the new processors closer to the release date of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP operating system, scheduled for Oct. 25, Krewell said.

Intel also launched six members of its mobile Celeron line of low-cost processors, including the first Celeron made using a 0.13-micron manufacturing process, which allows elements of a chip to be more tightly packed than with earlier processes. That chip is a low-voltage 650-MHz processor. The company also made several speed increases, launching versions that run at 933, 900, 866, 800 and 733 MHz. Previously, the fastest mobile Celeron ran at 850 MHz.

All Celeron offerings have a 133-MHz front-side bus except for the 650- and 900-MHz versions, which feature the 100-MHz front-side bus.

The company also launched two new versions of its 830 chip set that feature integrated graphics controllers, Spindler said. The new offerings are the 830MG, which is a low-cost version of the chip set, targeted at low-cost systems, and the 830M, which is the high-performance version, Spindler said.

The 830M offers a 118% increase in graphics performance from the 815 chip set, Spindler said.

"I think we'll see the first system introductions [using the chip sets] during October, then another wave in the beginning part of next year," Spindler said.

Pricing for the new processors is as follows: In the Pentium III processor-M family, the 1.2-GHz costs $722, the 800-MHz versions cost $316, the 733- and 750-MHz versions cost $241, and the 700-MHz chip costs $209.

In the mobile Celeron family, the 650-, 933- and 900-MHz versions all cost $134, the 866-MHz version costs $107, the 800-MHz version costs $91, and the 733-MHz version costs $75. Prices are all in 1,000-unit quantities, a standard measurement for chips.

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