Dell adds new Pentium M notebooks

Dell Computer rounded out its notebook lines Thursday with two new machines based on Intel's Pentium M processor and a combination of wireless chips including Intel's full Centrino package, the company said.

The Inspiron 500m for consumers and small businesses and the Latitude D500 for educational and business customers both weigh less than 5.5 pounds (2.8 kilograms), depending on the configuration. They are fourth and fifth notebooks from Dell with Intel's new processor and wireless technology, first introduced almost a month ago.

A base configuration of the Inspiron 500m comes with a 1.3GHz Pentium M processor, 128M bytes of DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM), a 14.1-inch display, a 20G-byte hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive for US$1,199. Wireless technology does not come standard with the 500m. Customers can opt for Intel's Pro Wireless 2100 chip used in the Centrino package and based on the 802.11b standard for an extra US$49.

For US$69, users can buy Dell's TrueMobile 1300 chip compatible with the 802.11b and 802.11g standards. Dell's TrueMobile 1400 wireless chip with support for all three wireless Internet standards, 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11a, costs an additional US$89.

The Latitude D500 comes with only one processor, the 1.3GHz Pentium M. Dell expects this will appeal to the notebook's target market of educational and small business customers, who prefer a stripped-down notebook that costs less but still offers room to upgrade cheaper options such as memory, a Dell spokeswoman said.

A base configuration with the 1.3GHz processor, 128M bytes of DDR SDRAM, a 14.1-inch display, a 20G-byte hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive costs US$1,199. The D500 will be marketed as a Centrino laptop, since it contains the Pentium M processor, Intel's 855 chipset, and the Intel Pro Wireless Card.

However, customers can opt for Dell's TrueMobile 1300 chip at no extra charge, the spokeswoman said. The Intel Pro Wireless chip is the default option when an order is placed through Dell's Web site, which allows Dell to market the laptop as a Centrino brand, and receive extra marketing dollars from Intel. The TrueMobile 1400 chip costs an extra US$69 when bought with the D500, she said.

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