Intel plugs new sockets for Celeron

Aiming to reduce the cost of Basic PCs, Intel next year will offer Celeron processors in a pin-grid array (PGA) package that plugs in to a new socket that is an alternative to Slot 1.

So far called simply "370-pin Socket", the interface is not compatible with either Socket 7, the Pentium interface, or Socket 8, the Pentium Pro interface. It is meant to complement, not displace, the Slot 1 design, according to an Intel representative.

"We are not moving away from Slot 1," the representative said.

The first central processing units (CPUs) in the new package, to be introduced in the first half of next year, will be 300MHz and 333MHz Celeron chips with 128KB of integrated Level 2 (L2) cache. The processors, developed under code-name Mendocino, will also be available in Slot 1 packages.

The new socket will reduce manufacturing costs because it will not require the "goal post" mounting bracket of Slot 1 and will allow for a smaller heat sink.

The new package is just one technique Intel is developing to cut the cost of basic PCs -- those selling for less than $2000. The company has also developed smaller "MicroATX" motherboards and power supplies, and introduced a limited-functionality core-logic chip set, the 440EX, that is less expensive than the 440BX found in performance PCs.

Intel is also working on higher levels of integration for its CPUs and chip sets, adding larger on-chip L2 caches to the CPU and adding graphics functions to the core logic.

For example, Intel will integrate 256KB of L2 cache on a mobile Pentium II processor, also scheduled for the first half of next year. Developed under the code name Dixon, the CPU is smaller and less power-hungry than Pentium II processors with separate cache memory chips.

Complementing the 233MHz and 266MHz mobile Pentium II chips introduced this year, Intel will offer a 300MHz version later this year and a 333MHz CPU early next year.

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