Intel slashes Centrino prices by up to 30%

Ships 1.7GHz Pentium M too

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Intel yesterday introduced a 1.7GHz Pentium M processor, as expected. It also cut the prices of the rest of the range by up to 34 per cent, which we'd suspected but had no firm evidence for.

Intel also introduced a Low-voltage 1.2GHz Pentium M and a 1GHz Ultra-low Voltage part, again as we reported last week.

The new chips are priced at $694, $341 and $319, respectively, in batches of 1000 and bundling the 855 chipset and Pro Wireless 2100 mini-PCI 802.11b card. So says Intel's press release, but its official price list, has the 1.7GHz part down at $725, $372/$367 (depending on whether you choose an 855 with integrated graphics or not) and $350/$345.

According to the price list, the processors alone cost $637, $284 and $262.

At the same time, Intel has cut the price of existing Pentium Ms. The 1.6GHz plus other Centrino chips now costs $511 and $506 (with integrated graphics and without), a cut of 30 per cent from $725 and $720. The equivalent 1.5GHz packages fall from $511 and $506 to $382 and $377, both a reduction of 25 per cent. The $382 and $377 1.4GHz packages fall 14 per cent to $329 and $324. The 1.3GHz versions stay where they are, at $297 and $292.

On their own, the processors prices have fallen even more steeply. The 1.GHz chip fell 34 per cent from $637 to $423. The 1.5GHz part went from $423 to $294, a cut of 31 per cent, and the 1.4GHz part dropped 18 per cent to $241 from $294. The price of the 1.3GHz Pentium M remains unchanged at $209.

In a nod toward last week's highly publicised VPN bug, Intel promised "updated networking software that delivers additional support for security features designed to protect information transmitted while connecting to networks using wireless technology". The software in question is Intel Pro Network Connection, which will be upgraded to version 7.1. The software works with the Centrino platform's Pro Wireless 2100 802.11b card.

Intel is adding support for the Wi-Fi Alliance's Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) security scheme. WPA is a cut-down version of the yet-to-be-ratified 802.11x WLAN security protocol. It will also add Cisco LEAP and CKIP security support, a move geared toward improving the Centrino platform's appeal to corporates. ®

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Intel to boost Pentium M to 1.7GHz next week
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