Intel launches 2.4GHz Mobile Pentium 4

Intel Corp. released several new processors and a new chipset for notebook computers Tuesday, making them immediately available in systems two days after Intel lowered prices on its Mobile Pentium 4 processors.

The 2.4GHz Mobile Pentium 4 Processor-M is available Tuesday morning in notebook machines from Gateway Inc. and Dell Computer Corp., based on information obtained from the companies' Web sites. Intel also added two new Ultra Low Voltage Mobile Pentium III processors, and three varieties of Mobile Celeron processors to its roster of products, it said in a release. The new Intel 852GM chipset for notebooks comes with integrated graphics and support for USB (universal serial bus) 2.0 ports.

It's tough to find signs of growth in the PC industry, but notebooks are a bright spot. Sales of notebooks grew between 10 percent and 15 percent during the recent holiday selling season, and steady growth should continue throughout 2003, said Stephen Baker, director of research at NPD Techworld in Reston, Virginia.

Intel is poised to capitalize on that trend with its new mobile processors, and will also launch its Centrino platform for notebooks in the first half of this year. Centrino combines a new processor built specifically for a mobile environment with wireless Internet chips based on the 802.11b standard.

The two new Ultra Low Voltage Mobile Intel Pentium III processors are designed for small notebooks and Tablet PCs, Intel said. They will be available at clock speeds of 933MHz and 900MHz, and both will cost $209 in 1,000 unit quantities.

Budget notebooks will get a performance boost from the new Mobile Celeron processors. A 2.0GHz Mobile Intel Celeron, a 866MHz Low Voltage Mobile Intel Celeron, and a 800MHz Ultra Low Voltage Mobile Intel Celeron processor were announced Tuesday at prices of $149, $134, and $144 in 1,000-unit quantities, respectively.

Gateway's 600XL notebook will come with the 2.4GHz processor, a 15.7-inch display, 512M bytes of DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM), a 60G-byte hard drive, and a Mobility Radeon 9000 graphics card from ATI Technologies Inc. with 64M bytes of DDR video memory for US$2,499.

Intel's new 2.4GHz mobile processor is listed on Dell's Web site as available on two systems, the Inspiron 8200 and the Inspiron 4150. However, the processor was not among the choices listed when an attempt was made to use the site to customize the individual systems.

Intel cut prices on its Mobile Pentium 4 Processor-M chips Sunday, reducing the price of the 2.2GHz Mobile Pentium 4 Processor-M chip by 38 percent to $348 in 1,000-unit quantities. Price cuts are typical before a chip maker introduces a new product.

Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, will release its earnings after the stock market closes Tuesday afternoon. The consensus among analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call is for the company to report earnings per share of $0.14, down from last year's fourth quarter earnings per share of $0.15. Revenue is expected to be $6.9 billion, down slightly from last year's fourth-quarter revenue of $7.0 billion.

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Tom Krazit

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