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Intel boxes clever on mobiles, desktop chipsets

Channel gets Chipzilla flannel

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Roadmap The Celeron can't be long for this world, can it?

Customers, oh yes, are important to Chipzilla, but the lumpen proletariat to Intel is its distributor and dealer channel, which is almost the last to know what the company is up to. (The last to know is usually the press or possibly the end user who after all only pays through the nose for PCs.)

This causes rather understandable anger in what's whimsically called the channel, a term which includes small system integrators as well as giant distributors like Ingram Micro.

But the channel has learnt to live with Intel's ways, specifically, in the last year or so, by buying AMD kit instead.

Every so often, Intel doles out a little bit of info to its channel, usually two weeks before a price cut, telling them that the kit they've just bought for a higher price is going to be slashed by 40 per cent or that other kit is not going to be available at all for months.

Intel reserves real information for its top distributors, such as Dell, or major tier one vendors who buy loads of its kit at a go, not some tuppence halfpenny outfit in the back of beyond.

But, occasionally, and probably more regularly in the last year or so, the channel gets info about changes in the roadmaps.

And that's what's just happened. Intel has decided to slightly modify its roadmaps in week nine, and has notified its channel of the changes.

The real changes are on the mobile and chipset front, since our last update, which was based on OEM roadmaps Intel shows its customers.

Intel sells boxed product to its channel, and has now revealed details of its long awaited plans for these.

The biggest change comes with the intro of the boxed 1GHz Pentium III early next quarter, right up at the top of the professional line for "full sized notebooks" costing over $3,000. There will also be 900MHz and 850MHz boxed versions in the same quarter.

Come Q3 this year, Intel will push 1.13GHz and 1.06GHz Tualatin mobile processors through its channel, using the 830M/MP chipsets later in the year.

The channel roadmap for thin and light notebooks also shows some changes. Towards the end of the year we will see the introduction of the 830MG chipsets, again with Tualatin 1.13GHz processors. The MG chipset - and we're not entirely certain what shape that will take yet - will displace the 815EM chipset in Q4.

On the boxed desktop chipset front, there are some interesting developments. The Intel 850 hogs the performance and mainstream sectors in Q2 of this year, with the 815E/E/P/ and EP in the lower end of the mainstream desktop. The Tualatin GMCH B Step will be available in Q2 for these chipsets, earlier than expected.

850 Brookdale is firmly targeted for Q3 along with ordinary Brookdale. This chipset will be targeted with PC-133 memory at launch, but DDR and simultaneous PC-133 support will not come until Q1 of next year. Unless Intel changes its mind.

Meanwhile, the 810E chipset is relegated to the value segment of the desktop market for Q1, Q2 and Q3, that is systems costing less than $600. Yer ordinary 810E and 810E2 will be aimed at the Value 2 segment ($600 and $799).

What a difference a year makes in the chip biz. This time last year, Intel was still telling the world that its dead Nasduck, the Timna would be hogging the value segment of the market.

The Celeron can't be long for this world, can it? ®

RegFactoid 11 A stent costs pennies to make but many many dollars to buy. In this respect, and in this respect only, it resembles a microprocessor.

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