Intel soups up two mobile chips

Intel Corp., at the Intel Developer Forum here on Tuesday, announced improvements to its existing mobile processor line and offered a rough outline of a new mobile processor design, code-named Tualatin.

Citing a strong shift in consumer buying habits from full-size to mini and ultra-light notebook computers, Frank Spindler, vice president and general manager of Intel's mobile platforms group, introduced a low-voltage Mobile Pentium III SpeedStep processor. Designed for laptops weighing fewer than three pounds, the chip runs at 700MHz and drops to 500MHz in battery optimized mode, Spindler said. The chip is available immediately.

For the high-performance market, Intel demonstrated its first 1GHz Mobile Pentium III SpeedStep processor for full-size notebooks running in systems from manufacturers such as Dell Computer Corp. and Acer Inc. The 1GHz Mobile Pentium III should be widely available by the end of the year, Spindler said.

Spindler also previewed a new processor core for Intel's Mobile chip line, a 0.13-micron architecture processor code-named "Tualatin," scheduled to arrive in the second half of this year.

The arrival of Tualatin is timed with a move by Intel later this year to reduce the architecture of all its processors from the current 0.18 microns to 0.13 microns, but Tualatin will be an entirely new chip, Spindler said.

"[Tualatin] will be more than moving the existing design on to a new process technology," it will be an entirely different core, Spindler said.

Tualatin will not be a Pentium 4 chip for Intel's mobile processor line, but Spindler suggested that Tualatin could have components similar to the Pentium 4's NetBurst architecture, technology designed specifically for graphics and Web optimization.

"[Tualatin] is not the Pentium 4 for mobile," Spindler said. "We do intend to have a Mobile Pentium 4, but not in 2001."

Intel will continue to go forward with the integration of wireless area network technology for its mobile products, Spindler said. The company already ships 802.11 LAN (local area network) products and will begin shipping add-on Bluetooth PAN (personal area network) options by year's end.

When asked about signal interference issues surrounding 802.11 and Bluetooth, such as the two signals stepping on one another, Spindler said Intel has been addressing the problem and that it sees "no fundamental obstacle to deploying Bluetooth with 802.11."

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