'Coppermine' notebooks arrive (Part 1)

Riding Intel's new 'Coppermine' chips, manufacturers introduce a wide range of portables

PC makers Monday let fly a number of fast notebook computers based on Intel's new Coppermine chips.The notebooks, from IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Gateway and Dell, have one thing in common: They are all based on mobile Pentium III processors released by Intel on Monday. The mobile chips, which are available at 450MHz and 500MHz as well as 400MHz for mini-notebooks, are important to notebook users because they will generally offer greater performance for the same, or even slightly better battery life. IBM, for example, says its new ThinkPad notebooks based on the chips are realizing 15 percent to 25 percent performance increases over Pentium II-based models, depending on the benchmarks used. At the same time, they offer about the same or even slightly better battery life.

New technology

Performance boosts are helped along by an increase in system bus speed from 66MHz to 100MHz also brought on with the new chips.

Their greater battery life has to do with the construction of the mobile Pentium III chips. The new mobile Pentium III chips are based on Intel's Coppermine design that utilize a 0.18 micron manufacturing process. This process shrinks the distance between transistors, which makes for greater clockspeeds and lower power consumption. IBM will offer the mobile Pentium III chips at 450MHz and 500MHz in new ThinkPad 390 and 600 models. A ThinkPad 600X model with the 450MHz chip, a 13.3-inch display, 6GB hard drive and 64MB of RAM will sell for about £1919. A similar model with a 500MHz version of the chip 12GB hard drive and DVD-ROM drive will sell for about £2459. IBM's all-in-one ThinkPad 390X, which is aimed at offering an affordable desktop replacement for small and medium businesses, will couple the new mobile chips with 14.1 or 15-inch displays. All-in-one, in a notebook, refers to it having non-removable floppy and CD-ROM drives integrated into its chassis. When configured with a 450MHz mobile Pentium III and a 14.1-inch display, the notebook will cost about £1,859. A model that includes a 15-inch display and 500MHz mobile Pentium III will cost about £300 more, bringing the price up to about £2,159.

Part 2