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A year ago: Slit One will be an integrated motherboard

Intel decides not to socket and see

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Our friends at Infoworld repeat some speculation this weekend about a cut-down version of the PII appearing next year. We're mighty glad and flattered to have our friends over the pond read our stuff. But here at The Register we have a slightly different take on the now-famous Slit One technology, prompted by talking to both a pesky OEM with a particular "in" at Santa Clara and also a distributor, who will here remain unnamed. The US reports suggest that mighty Intel will dish out a version of the PII without the cache, thus making the whole package less like a waffle-toaster than it need be. This will make the whole lot cheaper, according to the US speculation. That isn't what our friend at the distributor tells us. Fully briefed by Intel on one of its famous roadmaps, he tells us that a Slit One like this is not on the horizon. Indeed, removing the cache RAM on a typical motherboard is only likely to result in a saving of between $7 and $12, he suggests. Our Santa Clara friend clarifies the position. It's well known that Intel wants the famous NetPC to succeed, given that it's a way of propagating its chips into realms so far un-reached. However, rather than go with the Socket 7 design for a new motherboard aimed at the NetPC market, instead Intel plans to create a baby-like motherboard with PIIs soldered firmly into the fabric of the thing, together with a stack of integrated other stuff including graphics and Ethernet support. That will then have, to use his words, "a bloody great heatsink" across the top of the babyish motherboard, to reduce the problems of not using the infamous Cartridge design. This will create a fabulous platform for Net PCs, according to Santa Clara because not only will it make the box much smaller but it will also cut out any opposition from other motherboard manufacturers. And while we're on the subject of cuts, here's the latest SP from our contacts in the industry. Intel will make almighty slashes in prices at the end of January on the PII, thus positioning the old Klamath design at the entry-level. The ceramic Pentium MMX chips will only have a limited life from that point with the 166MMX part disappearing sometime when the daffodils bloom on the ramparts of York, England. The next cuts will come at the end of March, but will not be nearly as great as the January ones.... Merry Christmas, then, to all those end users bamboozled, once again, into paying well over the odds for a technology that's going to be much cheaper three weeks after Rudolph goes back to Lapland... And in the meantime, between January and March/April, Intel will gently slide in the Deschutes technology as the next thing people are going to have to pay through the nose for. ® Click for more stories Click for story index

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