Intel is set to unveil its latest Pentium III and Celeron mobile processors, which it claimed will be the most energy efficient chips on the market.
The new Pentium III uses SpeedStep technology to operate at 500Mhz when connected to the mains and 300Mhz running on batteries.
The latest Celeron chip uses QuickStart technology which reduces power consumption when systems are inactive, even picking up on the time between keystrokes.
Intel claimed that the chips consume about half a watt of power on average, which is less than half the consumption of its notebook chips.
IBM, which dropped Transmeta recently, has already incorporated the chip into a ThinkPad for the Japanese market that can run for about five hours on a single battery charge, said Frank Spindler, general manager of the mobile products group at Intel.
The IBM notebook contains a fan, but models coming from other hardware manufacturers will not need to.
Spindler also boasted that the new chips will perform "two to three times as fast as the Transmeta. It is the lowest power consuming PC processor that has ever been built," he said.
The chips, currently fabbed at 0.18 micron, will switch to a 0.13 process later this year, along with copper interconnects. Both factors should help to improve battery life. The 500Mhz mobile Pentium III costs $208 in batches of 1000. The Celeron costs $118.
Separately, Intel is preparing to cut prices on some chips by more than 40 per cent. The Pentium III, which now costs $465, will be cut to about $270. Prices for Pentium 4 chips, low-cost Celerons and Pentium III mobile chips are also being reduced from this week.
Intel has reason to try to stimulate demand for its processors. The company has said it expects its turnover to fall 15 per cent in the first quarter, compared with the fourth quarter 2000.
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