Consumers face PC confusion post-Coppermine launch

New features unlikely to be flagged on systems

Unwary buyers of PCs in the run-up to Yule could find themselves buying a pup unless they closely question retailers about which Intel chip is inside. Next Monday, Intel will introduce its better Coppermine technology, and at the same time introduce a whole batch of variations on the Pentium III theme. The introduction is expected to be supported by a large number of large PC companies, and there are new flavours of server and notebook chips too. That will mean confusion because PC companies are unlikely to brand machines which use the new Coppermine technology and on Monday will also introduce other innovations such as a faster, 133MHz system bus One PC manufacturer, who declined to be named, said: "I'm not sure how customers will be able to tell unless they can ready POST screens very quickly. It will certainly be very confusing for some customers. So is that a PIII-600 with 512K cache/100Mhz or 512K/133Mhz or 256K/100 or 256K/133?" He added that in the world of retail, it's the Megahertz Mark that counts, and it will be difficult for some buyers to understand the subtleties of second level cache and system buses. Earlier this year, a corporate buyer of notebook machines complained to The Register about a similar problem, when Intel introduced its first .18 micron processor. He said that he was unable to find out which of the major vendors were using the new technology. It was important, he added, because the new process technology Intel introduces runs far cooler than the older, .25 micron technology. Those problems will be multiplied after Monday's launch because there are new .18 micron notebook chips being launched. ® See also Coppermine: we got the prices Intel Coppermine mobiles: we got the prices

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