Intel's march continues. The world's largest chipmaker has announced its 366MHz mobile Celeron processor and two new mobile chip sets: the 440MX and the 440ZX.
According to Intel's in-house benchmarks, the performance increase between the Celeron 333MHz and 366MHz is in line with previous speed jumps.
Light on features and low on price, Intel's new chip sets target budget-notebook users. The 440MX, Intel's cheapest mobile chip set, does not support Accelerated Graphics Port technology. Designed for mininotebooks, the 440MX integrates audio and modem functions. The 440ZX is Intel's first low-end mobile chip set with AGP support.
In addition, Intel's 366MHz mobile Celeron chip introduces the Micro Pin Grid Array, a new processor format for Celeron and Pentium II CPUs running at 266MHz and faster. The Micro PGA lets vendors use a single motherboard design for a variety of chip speeds. This streamlining can reduce inventory costs and expedite the "build-to-order" process.
Intel's new Celeron chip also features Quickstart technology, which improves battery life by reducing processor power to 0.4 watts when a machine is idle. "Our Quickstart technology will actually power [a system] down between keystrokes," says Charlie Carey, Intel's mobile marketing manager.
Due in the second half of 1999, Intel's Geyserville technology will go further to boost notebook performance by reducing voltage. "Geyserville will allow Intel to achieve desktop-equivalent speeds in our notebook line," Carey says.
"Geyserville can determine whether your notebook is running from a battery or plugged into a wall socket, and adjust the voltage accordingly," Carey adds. Intel claims Geyserville will deliver 80 per cent of a system's performance using only 50 per cent of the voltage.
Last month, Advanced Micro Devices shipped its 380MHz mobile K6-2 processor, giving Intel a new speed target. The mobile AMD K6-2 processors come with the largest available L2 cache and offer 2X AGP graphics.
Intel responded by launching a mobile chip campaign, beginning with the release of the 333MHz Celeron. Intel expects to ship a 400MHz mobile Celeron in June.
Intel also plans to ship mobile Pentium III processors running at 600MHz and faster later this year. Using Geyserville technology and built on a 0.18-micron process, the PIII mobile family will blur the line between power notebook and desktop performance.