As Intel gets set to formally announce its 150MHz Pentium Mobile processor a week next Monday, vendors continue to take a dim view of the chip, which is expected to offer only a three per cent hike in application performance.
Several vendors won't carry the device in ranges, claiming that the performance boost over today's 133MHz Pentium Mobile won't justify the switch. "Running with the 150MHz chip, you're clocking the bus speed down as you were with the 75MHz DX4 and 66MHz 486DX2," said Mark King, sales director of UK notebook specialist Ergo. "We can supply it if necessary but we don't feel there's the increase in performance to warrant it. The increase in speed is negligible. We see it purely as a way for Intel to be able to push up its 166MHz Pentium pricing."
Instead, Ergo is likely to sell 166MHz and 200MHz Pentium-based systems even though they are not currently available in 2.9-volt versions specifically designed for portable PCs and can therefore run "warm" and suck more battery life. Intel is expected to release a mobile 166MHz Pentium by September, according to sources. The 200MHz could also be a promising chip for mobile PCs as it is manufactured on a 0.25-micron process, Intel's most advanced to date, and should therefore be relatively thrifty compared to today's 0.35-micron chips.
Even Intel loyalists that are committing to the chip are shy of making big claims for it. "We will use the chips at the top-end of our Tecra product range where we introduce the latest and greatest products available," said Chris Miller, product manager at Toshiba UK. "It's not going to be a big deal to people but some users will want that little edge."