Chips Zero In on Mobile UsersBy Jeffrey Burt | Print
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Chip makers are vying to add features for mobile computing users.
Chip Makers Intel Corp., Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Transmeta Corp. are unveiling a wider range of processors as they jostle one another to add features that appeal to mobile computing users.
Intel last week rolled out a low-cost mobile Celeron chip targeted at low-end value notebook users. The Celeron M is available at 1.2GHz and 1.3GHz, and an ultralow- voltage version running at 800MHz also is shipping, according to the Santa Clara, Calif., company.
The Celeron M chip runs at speeds slightly slower than Intel's Pentium M processor and also comes with a smaller Level 2 cache512KB, as compared with 1MB for the Pentium M. Dell Inc., of Round Rock, Texas, already is offering its Latitude D505 notebooks with the Pentium M at 1.4GHz or 1.5GHz or with the Celeron M at 1.2GHz.
Separately last week, AMD, of Sunnyvale, Calif., rolled out several low-voltage Athlon 64 chips, including three targeting the mobile space. The 64-bit Mobile Athlon 64 3200+, 3000+ and 2800+ use 25 to 30 percent less power than other Athlon 64 chips and come with AMD's PowerNow technology. PowerNow dynamically controls the chip's power consumption depending on the tasks being performed, AMD officials said.
Shane Rau, an analyst with IDC, said AMD's introduction of the mobile chipswhich target such devices as notebooksis important as it tries to push adoption of its 64-bit technology.
"It's certainly necessary," said Rau, in Mountain View, Calif. "AMD has to do something to address all the form factors and all the segments of all the form factors."
Another key for AMD will be getting to the 90-nanometer manufacturing process by the second half of the year, which will enable the company to drive its 64-bit technology into other segments, such as thin-and-light notebooks, Rau said.
In addition to the mobile chips, AMD unveiled its 2.2GHz Athlon 64 3400+ desktop processor for high-end PCs and desktop-replacement notebooks. The chip will compete with Intel's upcoming Pentium 4 chip, code-named Prescott, expected to ship this quarter.
Meanwhile, Transmeta, also based in Santa Clara, announced the TM5700 and TM5900 additions to its graying Crusoe line. At 21 by 21 millimeters, the chips are half the size of the current TM5800 and are targeted at devices that hold a lot of computing power in a small space, such as blade servers, ultraportable PCs, printers and point-of-sale terminals.
The chips include Transmeta's integrated Northbridge and LongRun power management technology, officials said.