Intel improves lives with mobile CPUs

Bold claim. Does it stand up?

Intel today came to market with 11 new mobile CPUs, in a monster launch for the notebook and subnotebook sectors.

Chipzilla reckons that it has a CPU for just about any mobile PC form factor (and price point- it's got cheapo desktop chips after all, for the Taiwanese bricks to be found in most retail stores these days). And it may be right, although the company's mobile marketing mantra, ascribed to the hapless Don MacDonald, director of marketing, Intel Mobile Platforms Group, could do with a bit of honing.

Intel-based mobile PCs improve the lives of business users and consumers - from an employee taking digital notes on a Tablet PC during a multi-hour meeting, to parents sharing digital photos of their first-born child over a long dinner.

Why just the first-born? Why isn't he or she dining with the parents, talking to them even. Or maybe the first born is, like me, 41 with a home and children of his own, which would make the parents the nonpareil of silver surfers. Or Intel board directors.

And say the digital photo sharing is taking place in a restaurant. Isn't a notebook in use by people who are also eating and maybe drinking a little conspicuous, not to mention potentially injurious to the hardware.

Enough, let's talk about the chips. First up, the P4-M 2.2GHz, Intel's new top-of-the-range notebook CPU, priced at $562 in 1,000 units. This is aimed at the corporate Johnny, people who have owned or used enough notebooks to know that they want thin and light, but without much sacrifice in performance. The emphasis is on much. In battery mode, the 2.2GHz P4-M speed degrades, albeit to a healthy 1.2GHz. This CPU is meant for people who actually use their notebooks as mobile devices - so PCs which take 10 minutes to boot up, are a no-no. But they come at a price.

Next up is the Mobile Pentium III-M, pitched at PC makers to "design sleek form factors offering good performance", in other words a little cheaper than P4-Ms, and probably less bulky than notebooks bearing mobile Celerons. And more powerful. But the pricing is not exactly mass market just yet - the new 1.33GHz mobile Pentium III-M pans out at a hefty $508 apiece for 1,000 units, while the new 1.26GHz PIII-M cost $401.

Power Less

Intel today also launched low and ultra-low voltage versions of the PIII-Ms. Intel is touting these at mini, sub notebooks and Tablet PCs - low power means no need for fans to stop devices overheating, and longer battery life too. Indeed the PIII-M family is "ideal for the emerging Tablet PC market segment, as they provide the best balance of performance and low-power". The world+dog is cranking up for the Tablet PC launch, due November some time. The low-voltage 1GHZ PII-M costs $316; the ultra-low voltage 866MHz PIII-M costs $209; and the ultra-low voltage 850MHz PIII-M also costs $209.

Last and certainly least, so far as cost and performance is concerned, some new mobile Celerons, including a couple of low-voltage jockeys, clocking up at 733MHz and 700MHz (and costing $144 each in OEM... etc.) The rest of the new members of the mobile Celeron are a 1.8GHz ($149); a 1.7GHz ($134) and a 1.6GHz ($112). ®

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