700MHz Pentium Powers Notebooks

SAN FRANCISCO (04/24/2000) - Want a notebook with more jolt? Intel Corp. today launches its fastest mobile processors to date: a 700-MHz Pentium III with SpeedStep and a 550-MHz Celeron. Major vendors including Dell Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co., and Toshiba are announcing new products built around the CPUs.

The latest PIII has an integrated 256KB L2 cache and uses SpeedStep technology to offer 700-MHz performance when on AC power and 550-MHz speed when using the battery (you also can run full-speed on battery). The 550-MHz Celeron has an on-die 128KB L2 cache and does not offer SpeedStep.

Dell is among the first vendors to offer notebooks with the new PIII chip.

Starting Monday the 700-MHz chip will be available across the company's Inspiron line, says Dell spokesperson Ed Suwanjindar.

Dell is selling 700-MHz PIII configurations for each of its Inspiron models: the 3800, 5000, and 7500. The lightweight $2299 3800 G700LT has a 14.1-inch active-matrix display, 32MB memory, 4.8GB hard drive, 10X-24X CD-ROM drive, and 8MB graphics memory. The 5000 G700VT offers a 15-inch active-matrix display, 32MB memory, 6GB hard drive, 10X-24X CD-ROM drive, and 8MB graphics memory for $2749. The more expandable 7500 G700VT sells for $2799 and has a 15-inch active-matrix display, 32MB memory, 6GB hard drive, combination 10X-24X CD-ROM drive, 8MB graphics memory, and a removable floppy drive. All units ship with Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition and Works 2000.

Also Monday, HP launches a corporate notebook line, the OmniBook 6000. The 6000 line features both the new Celeron and PIII processors and will begin shipping May 1, says Anthony McMahon, HP marketing manager for North America.

The redesigned 6000 replaces the OmniBook 4150 and uses the same docking accessories plus new security options. Pricing for the 6000 will likely start at about $1099 and top out at about $4049.

Toshiba also is getting into the act, adding the 700-MHz PIII to its Tecra 8100 line. Available in May, the Tecra 8100 can be built to order, but Toshiba also offers a preferred configuration. A $3999 unit includes a 14.1-inch active-matrix display, 128MB memory, 12GB hard drive, 6X DVD-ROM drive, V.90 modem, and 8MB graphics memory.

Mobile Growth

Intel continues to expect strong growth in mobile computing, says Russell Schafer, Intel's director of market development and channel marketing. Much of that growth comes from small business buyers, who appreciate the increased flexibility of a mobile PC, he says. As processing power increases, Schafer notes, other customers buy notebooks for new tricks, such as watching DVD movies on planes.

AMD last week introduced its mobile K6-III+ and mobile K6-2+ CPUs. The company targets the K6-III+ (with its 256KB on-die L2 cache and speeds of 450, 475, and 500 MHz) at high-performance notebooks. The K6-2+ (with a 128KB on-die L2 cache and speeds of 450, 475, and 500 MHz) is for value-priced notebooks. The company plans to ship a mobile version of its Athlon processor by the end of the year.

CPU startup Transmeta, meanwhile, says its power-saving 700-MHz TM5400 processor should start showing up in notebooks after midyear.

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