Toshiba brings Pentium 4 to notebooks

Toshiba revved up its consumer and business notebook lines Monday, releasing computers with Intel's new mobile Pentium 4 chip.

The new consumer Satellite 5105 and Satellite Pro 6100 for mid-sized business customers will ship with 1.7GHz mobile Pentium 4 chips built on Intel's NetBurst architecture, said Masa Okumura, director of portables and worldwide product planning for Toshiba's Computer Systems group. Toshiba will also use the chip in the Tecra 9100 aimed at corporate users.

The faster processors should help speed various multimedia applications such as streaming video and gaming. In addition, the Pentium 4 chip includes hyper-threading technology that can let one chip appear as two processors to the operating system, helping a PC run numerous applications at once.

While the Pentium 4s do increase software performance, Okumura said that with normal usage battery life would be about 15 minutes to 30 minutes shorter with the new chips. Users should expect around two hours of battery life with normal usage.

The Satellite 5105 comes with a LCD touchpad call the cPad. Located on the main body near the keyboard, the cPad has a black and white display that allows users to launch applications such a calculator or clock and to input signatures. Users can set their own grayscale pictures as the cPad's background and customize the control panel to run various programs, Okumura said.

The Satellite 5105 includes a Nvidia Corp. GeForce4 440 Go graphics processing unit (GPU), a 15 inch display, 40G byte hard drive and memory card slots for US$2,499.

The Satellite Pro 6100 is targeted at small and medium-sized businesses and touts 256M bytes of DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (Synchronous Dynamic RAM) memory, a 40G byte hard drive and Nvidia's GeForce4 420 Go GPU. The notebook also includes built-in support for 802.11b and bluetooth wireless technologies.

The Satellite Pro 6100 arrives in mid-march, starting at $2,399.

The high-end Tecra 9100 also ships with 802.11b and Bluetooth support, along with 256M bytes of DDR SDRAM memory and 40G byte hard drive. The notebook starts at $2,829.

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