AMD readies mobile Athlon chip for battle with Intel

While AMD has gained ground against Intel on the desktop, the chip maker continues to lack a high-end product for the consumer and business notebook markets. Sources close to Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Computer however, confirmed that they both plan to release notebooks with AMD's mobile Athlon chip in the March time frame.

AMD remains tight-lipped on the exact release date of the mobile Athlon and on the speeds of the new chip. The company would only commit to a late first-quarter release date at this time, according to an AMD spokeswoman.

A source close to Hewlett-Packard shed more light on the situation, saying HP plans to use the mobile Athlon in both its consumer Pavilion notebooks and its OmniBook business notebooks. The high-end machines would use a 900MHz mobile Athlon chip, the HP source said.

Likewise, a Compaq source admitted strong interest in the mobile Athlon, saying some notebooks with at least a 900MHz processor would arrive by March.

"The key to penetration in the corporate space is getting one or more of the large tier-one vendors to use the products," Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research, said. "The mobile Athlon would be an important piece to having a complete top-to-bottom line for AMD."

AMD has suffered from a lack of presence in the notebook space only offering its low-end K6 line of chips. The new mobile Athlon might be AMD's first true attack against Intel in notebook markets, according to McCarron.

"Certainly, we have seen that AMD has been a strong competitor to Intel in the desktop market and presumably that would happen in the notebook space as well," he said.

Intel does not plan to be left behind. The chip behemoth will unveil a 900MHz and 1GHz mobile Pentium III chip by mid-2001, according to an Intel spokeswoman.

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