Usually, new chips from the giant can be guaranteed a substantial parade of PC vendors slotting the device into their lines but the much-discussed performance and energy consumption with the chip have caused an unusually low-key introduction.
The 150MHz Pentium is hamstrung by its relatively ancient 60MHz bus, causing it to run only about five per cent faster than the 133MHz Pentium, according to most application performance benchmarks. The other catch is that it is not strictly a chip optimised for mobile PCs as its
average power drain is 3.8 watts and has a 3.1-volt core. Recent mobile Pentiums consume 3.3 watts and have a 2.9-volt core. The result is a hotter chip and less battery life. Intel says it plans to reduce the power consumption and voltage in a 150MHz revision.
Gateway 2000 will release notebooks based on the chip but John Shepheard, UK marketing manager, said it would not be over-selling products based on the 150MHz device.
"There are some issues with the chip but we're not overplaying our cards," Shaepheard said. "We're saying: 'Will there be a performance gain? Yes. Will it be very much? Hmm.' We'll tell everybody about the 133MHz chip and say if you need the slight extra performance of 150MHz, you know who you can buy it from. The notebook market is going the way of the desktop; people want absolute flexibility in configuration."
Toshiba said it will add 150MHz Pentium versions of its Tecra high-end line but not until the second half of September as "availability is hazy".