Intel brings out low-cost laptop chips

Intel on Monday introduced a budget chip for notebooks that the company hopes will bring wireless computing to the masses.

The Celeron M is a discount version of the Pentium M processor, which came out last March. The new chip is based around the same processor core, but comes with a 512KB secondary cache and runs at slower speeds, Intel said Monday. Last year, company executives said a budget version of Celeron would come in early 2004. Pentium Ms come with a 1MB cache, and a new version of the Pentium M, code-named Dothan, that is due to debut in February will have a 2MB cache. Later, Dothan will be complemented by an improved chipset for better data throughput. Generally, larger caches and new chipsets (bundles of chips that support processors) are added to increase performance.

Like the Pentium M, the Celeron M will contain features designed to cut down on energy consumption--a key consideration for wireless notebooks--but it won't have as many. The Celeron M, for example, doesn't include Intel's SpeedStep technology, which allows the processor to slow down and conserve energy when a computer is running on batteries. The new chip family should help Intel pursue its strategy of making Wi-Fi more popular in retail. In Japan and Europe, consumers have already begun to gravitate toward smaller, lighter notebooks with wireless functionality. In the United States, however, consumers still favor large, often heavy notebooks with desktop-class processors. Typically, U.S. consumers picking up wireless laptops are experienced buyers on their second or third notebook, according to analysts.

News source: C|Net News.com

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