Notebook users get more options
SAN MATEO - by the first quarter of 1998 Digital, AMD, and Cyrix will be offering mobile CPUs that offer Windows NT 5.0 capability and 533MHz speeds, mainstream processors that target the Pentium II, and low-cost chips for $US1500 notebooks.
Continuing to bring the Alpha processor into direct competition with high-performance CPUs from Intel, Digital will offer a mobile version of the 21164PC 533MHz CPU for desktop replacements. The mobile part is slated to arrive at about the same time as NT 5.0, which will have features such as power management and plug-and-play support that are necessities in notebook applications, said Tim Miller, strategic marketing manager at Digital Semiconductor.
The Alpha chip is similar to the Pentium II in power dissipation, and both mobile chips will be aided by 0.25-micron technology, Miller noted. The Alpha mobile and the Deschutes Pentium II mobile should start appearing in notebooks early in 1998, he said.
Meanwhile, AMD will be offering a lower-cost alternative to the Pentium II: a mobile K6 processor will begin shipping later this year, said David Somo, AMD's K6 division marketing manager.
When AMD moves to a 0.25-micron production process, the power consumption of the K6 will drop by 60 per cent to 70 per cent, according to Somo.
Although AMD was unwilling to discuss any notebook vendors that will incorporate the chip, NEC is a possibility, according to one informed source.
Taking on Intel at the low end, in the next quarter Cyrix will offer a notebook MediaGX CPU that will enable 200MHz portables at a price of about $1500, said Steve Tobak, Cyrix's vice-president of corporate marketing.
Samsung has a MediaGX-based notebook in Korea, he noted.