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Intel will fill notebook gap with faster MMX Pentiums

Intel is to fill a yawning gap in its mobile processor line-up by releasing a series of low-power 200MHz-and-up Pentium MMX chips housed in its new Mobile Module cartridge format.

Intel announced the module format in February, claiming it would allow the processor to interact faster with peripherals such as video and memory and that it would allow mobile PC makers to standardise designs to take advantage of new Intel chips. As many critics have noted, the format also performs a handy role for Intel by locking in makers who design around the cartridge format, at least until rivals can reverse engineer the design for their own CPUs.

By building the mobile chips on its state-of-the-art 0.25-micron process, Intel believes it will be able to rev the Pentium MMX to in excess of 200MHz without sacrificing power management. Currently, Intel's fastest mobile device is a 166MHz Pentium MMX processor.

Most likely, Intel will release 200MHz and 233MHz parts in the second half of 1997.

PCDN Comment: This is a canny stop-gap for Intel. With current Pentium Pro and Pentium II designs not designed for mobile systems, adding faster Pentium MMX speeds on its most efficient manufacturing process fills an important niche. The cartridge design is typical Intel marketing and will lead to some head-scratching at firms like Compaq who are keen to maintain differentiation and may have been considering AMD's K6.