New NEC laptops to pack Athlon 4 chips

AMD's new Athlon 4 mobile processor has received a boost from PC maker NEC, which will use it in a new line of notebook PCs set to debut in Japan later in the month.

Advanced Micro Devices' new Athlon 4 mobile processor has received a boost from PC maker NEC.

AMD announced on Wednesday that NEC will use the Athlon 4 in a new line of notebook PCs set to debut in Japan later in the month.

The new notebook line, the LaVie G series, will have models that offer both the 1GHz Athlon 4 and AMD's 800MHz mobile Duron chip.

NEC, a longtime AMD supporter, has offered AMD-based notebooks in the Japanese market for some time and becomes the second major PC maker to adopt the Athlon 4 mobile chip. The first, Compaq Computer, offers a Presario notebook with the Athlon 4 in North America. That notebook, the Presario 1200, includes a 1GHz version of the chip for a price starting at $1,599, according to Compaq.

Other North American PC makers, such as Hewlett-Packard, are expected to adopt the chip at a later date.

The Athlon 4, announced last week, represents the first of a family of chips based on a new AMD processor core called Palomino. The core allows for higher clock speeds and includes a faster cache with features aimed specifically at the mobile market.

One of those features is a lower voltage than that found in Athlon desktop chips. Another is AMD's PowerNow technology, which allows the chip to operate in a range of voltages and clock speeds to save battery power.

The Athlon 4 is available at four speeds: 850MHz, 900MHz, 950MHz and 1GHz.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD also announced that Sony and Fujitsu will offer new notebooks with the mobile Duron processor later in the month.

Sony plans to launch a new Vaio notebook sporting the 700MHz mobile AMD Duron chip, and Fujitsu has selected an 800MHz version of the same chip for new FMV-Biblo notebooks. The notebooks will be available in Japan.

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