US Report: New mobile Pentium II brings cheaper notebooks

Intel will keep its rapid-fire mobile processor machine firing next month when it releases the 300MHz mobile Pentium II.

The 300MHz Pentium II will be the sixth new mobile processor Intel has released in the last year. The company, however, is expected to slow that pace, sources said. The only mobile processor scheduled for release in the next few months is a 333MHz Pentium II, due in March of next year. Intel, no doubt, is beginning to heed the call of some IT managers, who say CPU speed is not as important as it once was. "What I've found works better [for increasing performance] in notebooks is adding more RAM," said Steve Curcuru, at Mugar Enterprises in the US. "I'd probably pay [only] $50 (£30) more to get a 300MHz processor, assuming it will give me a 5 [percent] to 10 percent increase in performance. That's all I can justify."

A by-product of the swift chip rollout will take shape by the end of the year in the form of price cuts, sources said. Shortly after the 300MHz Pentium II is released next month, Intel will cut prices on existing chips. Its 266MHz Pentium Processor with MMX Technology, for example, will be reduced from $241 (£147) to $159 (£97), while the 233MHz Pentium II will go from $262 (£160) to $209 (£127), sources said.

The price cuts will allow OEMs to launch new Pentium II systems at prices of about $1,500 (£915). Intel officials declined to comment.

Next month, Dell will offer 300MHz Inspiron notebooks starting below $3,000 (£1,830) and 300MHz Latitudes starting below $3,500 (£2,134).