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Intel Banias SoC part to ensure PIII lives on

Oh, and Athlon 4 will drive Intel's prices down even further

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Intel's Pentium III may be all but dead on the desktop, but it apparently has along life ahead of it in the mobile market. The chip giant is preparing a Mobile Pentium 4 for release in February 2002 which may eventually push the Mobile Pentium III out of the mainstream.

But the chip will live on, in Banias, Intel's second attempt at building a system-on-a-chip part.

Banias was first discussed nine months or so back at Microprocessor Forum. Since then, the company has continued to say it's working on a completely redesigned mobile part and that it will be introduced sometime in 2003, but no more. It doesn't even acknowledge the codename.

Banias is believed to be under development in Israel by the team behind Timna, Intel's first, abortive attempt at SoC design - hence the company's reticence to discuss it. Banias is definitely a SoC, says Instat MicroDesign Resource analyst Kevin Krewell, quoted by eWeek. "It's a highly-integrated Timna 2, in a sense - without RDRAM, of course," he says.

Kewill reiterates his belief that Banias is PIII-based, a point he's made to us on several occasions in the past. He reckons it will launch at 1.4GHz, which isn't a bad guess, assuming the Mobile PIII is kept below the Mobile P4's debut debut speed, 1.5GHz. Kewill also believes Banias will be offered, as per the Mobile PIII and Mobile Celeron, in regular, low-voltage and ultra-low voltage forms.

Interestingly, Kewill also reckons that the price of Intel's mobile chips will come down closer to desktop prices in the 18 months or so before Banias' debut. The reason? In part, it's cost savings made by sticking with the established PIII architecture and the yield benefits of going to 0.13 micron, but mostly it's a response to AMD's Athlon 4, which Kewill reckons puts Intel at a disadvantage at least until the Mobile P4 ships next year. ®

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