Intel debuts new mobile chips

New chips signal emergence of low-power mobile market

Intel Monday announced several new mobile chips using SpeedStep technology for lower power. The top-speed Pentium III is now 850MHz, with mobile Celeron running at speeds of up to 700MHz. The highest-speed mobile chip from rival AMD is the K6-2 running at 550MHz.

The new chips are available now from several major PC makers.

Intel touted SpeedStep, which reduced power consumption when it is not needed by the processor, as allowing greater processing power to coexist with reasonable battery life. "SpeedStep technology is helping PC makers deliver near desktop-equivalent performance in smaller, lighter mobile PCs that run longer," said Don MacDonald, marketing director at Intel's Mobile Platforms Group, in a statement.

Industry analysts say the emergence of SpeedStep, AMD's PowerNow and Transmeta's upcoming line of low-power notebook chips are part of a new market segment for chip and PC makers. Intel's unveiling of its latest mobile processor roadmap, at Microprocessor Forum on 10 October, is expected to focus on low-power issues.

"Intel's planned announcement intensifies the latest split in the PC-processor battleground, with the opening up of a new low-power PC processor front," stated Steve Leibson, Microprocessor Report editor-in-chief and director of Microprocessor Forum. "Microprocessor vendors are hotly competing for design wins in notebooks, subnotebooks, handheld PCs, PDAs, and information appliances based on the low-power requirements of their offerings."

The Pentium III 850MHz runs at 700MHz in battery-optimised mode, and costs $722 (£448) in OEM quantities. The new Pentium III 800MHz chip runs at 650MHz in battery-optimised mode and costs $508 in OEM quantities. The Celeron 700MHz costs $181 in OEM quantities.

AMD will shortly unveil mobile chips based on its Athlon and Duron processor cores, the company's answer to Pentium and Celeron, respectively. The Athlon-based chip, formerly codenamed Corvette and now codenamed Palomino, is expected to run faster than 800MHz. The Duron chip is expected to run faster than 700MHz.

Next year Intel will launch a mobile version of its Timna super-integrated, value-oriented chip running at 700MHz.

See Chips Central for daily hardware news, including an interactive timeline of AMD and Intel's upcoming product launches.

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