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Intel's Chips Target Portable PC Market

Computers: Microprocessors bridge performance gap between those designed for laptop and desktop models.

September 09, 1997|From Times Wire Services

Intel Corp. on Monday introduced two Pentium microprocessors for portable computers that combine rapid computing speed and multimedia functions with dramatically lower power consumption.

The 200- and 233-megahertz chips boast Intel's MMX multimedia-enhancing feature and 0.25-micron technology, which lets Santa Clara-based Intel, the world's largest chip maker, cram more transistors onto each processor.

The company's newest chip class bridges a performance gap between processors designed for portable computers and for desktop models. The powerful microprocessors now used in desktop personal computers are larger, generate more heat and consume more power than chips designed for laptops, which have typically been slower.

Several computer companies, including Hewlett-Packard Co., Sharp Electronics Corp. and Acer America Corp., said they will produce notebook computers using the new processor.

With more people working away from offices, demand for laptop and notebook computers has been growing up to twice as fast as that for desktops, said Rob Enderle, an analyst with Giga Information Group in San Jose.

But portable PCs have not been able to perform as strongly as desktops, chiefly because the fastest microprocessors have used too much power, limiting battery life, and produced too much heat.

The Tillamook chip is the first processor Intel has made with its 0.25-micron process, which results in smaller lines of circuitry than the previous, 0.35-micron technology.

The new portable Pentium chip running at 233 MHz uses half the power of a Pentium processor with MMX running at 166 MHz, Intel said. That will allow some laptops to run four to five hours on a normal-sized battery, Intel said.

The chips are precursors to a newer chip which is a mobile version of the Pentium II.

The 200-MHz chips with MMX technology cost $691 apiece in lots of 1,000; the 233-MHz chip costs $764.

Intel shares rose $1.38 to close at $95.94 in Nasdaq trading.

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