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Dothan notebooks to ship Jan/Feb 2004

If Intel meets its deadline

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Taiwanese notebook manufacturers are ready to ship machines based on Intel's upcoming next-generation Pentium M chip, codenamed 'Dothan', just as soon as the chip giant can ship the thing.

Assuming Intel makes its end-of-the-year release deadline, notebooks based on the part would hit the market late January or early February 2004, according to manufacturer sources cited by DigiTimes today.

Intel continues to state that Dothan will arrive this year to provide the company with "revenue shipments" in Q4. In essence, that means volumes sufficient for Intel to meet its self-imposed Q4 deadline, but probably not enough for notebook vendors to ship product en masse.

Dothan is Intel's first mobile processor to be fabbed at 90nm, and it's likely that problems arising from the commercial implementation of that process that is holding the chip back.

As we reported from Intel Developer Forum last month, the chip giant has begun shipping the i855GME chipset, which supports current 'Banias' Pentium Ms and Dothan.

Pin-compatible with today's i855, the new version offers Intel's Display Power Saving Technology (DPST), which controls a notebook's backlight brightness on the fly to reduce the backlight brightness to cut screen power consumption from Centrino's 5W to an average of 3W. Expect a 25 per cent overall power reduction, the company says.

The new chipset also features an improved graphics engine that can automatically adjust its clock frequency when switching between AC and battery power. Only two frequencies are supported, one for each power mode. On AC, the core is clocked to 250MHz, up from the i855GM's 200MHz. The new Centrino part also supports 333MHz DDR SDRAM, for the first time.

Taiwanese notebook makers claim Centrino notebooks account for 50-60 per cent of their mobile shipments. The price cuts Intel made earlier this week should boost that figure to 75 per cent, DigiTimes says. ®

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