Intel Tualatin chip makes low-key debut

Intel quietly ships the desktop version of its new Pentium III chip--code-named Tualatin--saving the hoo-ha for next month's launch of the mobile version.

LONDON (ZDNet UK)--Intel has quietly begun shipping the desktop version of its new Pentium III processor, which uses an advanced manufacturing process that cuts power consumption while boosting speed.

The new Pentium IIIs, code-named Tualatin, are the first Intel chips to use the 0.13-micron manufacturing process, which replaces the 0.18-micron process currently used for most PC processors. Miniaturizing the chip geometry allows the processor to run at faster speeds while consuming less power and emitting less heat, making such chips ideal for mobile computing.

The chips also use copper interconnects, a feature which could allow increased miniaturization for future versions.

Intel said the chips have been shipping in full production quantities since May, and could be announced by manufacturers from Tuesday. The chips run at 1.13GHz and are aimed at servers, but will use the Pentium III brand rather than Intel's server brand, Xeon.

Pricing was not immediately available.

Intel is not putting much marketing muscle behind the desktop Tualatins, saving the fanfare for the mobile version, which will appear next month, according to sources. Intel will launch the mobile Tualatin in five speeds: 866MHz, 933MHz, 1GHz, 1.06GHz and 1.13GHz.

The new mobile Pentium IIIs will use a 133MHz front side bus and are expected to include a larger 512kB Level 2 cache and a new version of SpeedStep, Intel's battery-saving technology. The chips will compete with AMD's mobile Athlon 4 and ultra-low-power Crusoe chips from Transmeta.