One Year Ago: Intel create 266MHz mobile chips

Summary:This story first published July 24, 1997

Although Intel is due to release Tillamook, the code name for 200MHz and 233MHz Pentium Processors with MMX Technology for portables, on September 8, it doesn't plan to stop there.

Early next year, the Santa Clara, Calif., company will add a 266MHz version to the mix, sources said. The chip will be available in 2.5 volt and 5 volt versions, meaning it can be used in both notebooks and desktop PCs, sources said. The chip is likely to be the last one that Intel develops for the Socket 7 infrastructure before it moves to slots. Socket 7 is the motherboard socket into which a chip is placed. The majority of motherboards and chip sets today support Socket 7. Intel's new Pentium II chips—and all subsequent processors—are housed in a cartridge, known as Slot 1, that plugs into a slot on the board.

The decision to release the higher-performance chip for Socket 7 has several ramifications.

First, it will give both PC makers and buyers more time to transition to Slot 1, which requires new system designs. Currently, MMX-enabled Pentiums top out at 166MHz for portables and 233MHz for desktops. Users who want more horsepower had no choice from Intel but to move to Slot 1. Second, it makes life more difficult for Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Cyrix Corp., which are trying to leverage existing Socket 7 infrastructure with parts that reach 300MHz.

Both companies acknowledge they will have to answer to Slot 1 sometime in the future, but they maintain that second-tier and some first-tier PC makers will not want to transition entire product lines to Slot 1 in the short term.

In March, AMD announced its entry into the chip set business, a move it hopes will prolong use of its processors—and others using Socket 7 -- into 1999.

Intel officials declined to comment on unannounced products.

Topics: Tech Industry

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