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Intel to boost Pentium M to 1.7GHz next week

Last speed bump before Dothan?

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Intel will extend Its Pentium M family next week, taking the chip that forms the heart of the company's Centrino platform to 1.7GHz.

The 1.7GHz Pentium M will debut this coming Sunday, Xbit Labs reports, alongside a 1.2GHz Low-Voltage version and a 1GHz Ultra-low Voltage part. The three processors will be priced at $637, $262 and $241, respectively, for orders of 1000 units.

The new chips represent only a minor speed-bump from today's top-of-the-line 1.6GHz Pentium M. The big hike will come in Q4 when Intel ships the 90nm Pentium M, codenamed Dothan, at 1.8GHz, with higher frequencies coming in during Q1 2004 - the same timeframe for Celeron M's based on today's version and Dothan but with less L2 cache. Dothan's 2MB of on-die L2 cache should drive performance beyond the simply boost to clock frequency.

At the launch of Centrino, Intel admitted its 1.6GHz Pentium M was faster than the then top-of-the-range 2.4GHz P4-M. Intel shipped a Centrino-beating 2.5GHz P4-M in April, but the arrival of the 1.7GHz Pentium M may well put Centrino back in the lead. Not for long, though - next month, Intel is also expected to ship a 2.6GHz Pentium 4-M, which should nose into the lead.

The arrival of the 1.7GHz Pentium M should help drive demand for the Centrino-based machines. The major notebook vendors all say that more than half of their Q3 notebook shipments will be machines based on the platform, according to sources close to said companies cited by DigiTimes. Acer in particular apparently believes over 80 per cent of the notebooks it will sell in Q3 will be Centrino macchines.

Currently, Centrino accounts for around 20-30 per cent of notebook sales, the sources said. Driving growth won?t just be faster chips, but lower system prices. ®

Related Link

Xbit Labs: Intel to launch new Pentium M processors next week

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