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Mobile Palomino debut delayed by chipset lag

Notebook vendors forced to wait

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AMD's Mobile Athlon, based on the Palomino core, may be sampling and volume shipments may be due to commence on Monday, but don't expect to buy a big-name notebook containing the power-conserving processor for some time yet.

The reason? A shortage of chipsets capable of supporting the new CPU, according to industry sources cited by CNet. Acer Labs and VIA are believed to have begun sampling mobile Palomino chipsets, but volume production is still some way off.

Acer and VIA both supply the Taiwanese OEMs who build the vast majority of the world's notebooks, both for 'no name' suppliers and the big guns like IBM, Toshiba, Compaq and Hewlett-Packard. The last two are believed to be preparing Mobile Athlon-based machines, according to rumours doing the rounds last January.

Acer announced the CyberMagic 1646 a couple of months back. It's due to ship sometime between April and June. VIA's alternative is expected in the same timeframe, but the company has yet to make that an official release schedule.

Now, we thought VIA's KT133A now had PowerNow! support and was shipping in volume. Ditto the KT266. That said, they're both primarily aimed at desktop systems and big name notebook vendors would rather wait for dedicated chipsets apparently.

The new Mobile Athlon adds AMD's PowerNow! power-saving technology to the Palomino core. According to AMD's current roadmap, it's been sampling since last December and will go into production this quarter. Official comments by various AMD staffers show the company is sticking to that line.

As AMD product marketing man Mark DeFrere recently put it: "We expect to be shipping volume quantities of the Mobile Palomino Athlons this quarter. We will start sampling the Mobile Morgan Durons this quarter as well. As far as when can you expect to see Notebooks powered by Athlons, that is up to the manufacturers." ®

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