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IBM to debut thin Pentium II notebooks

A new series of cutting-edge notebook PCs from IBM coming this April will combine a thin design with high-end features.

A new series of cutting-edge notebook PCs from IBM will combine the slimness of its 560 line with all of the bells and whistles of its high-end machines, endowing IBM's popular ThinkPad design with a full set of features.

The new line of notebooks, coming this April, will be one in a series of upgrades that IBM plans for its portables in the Spring in tandem with the introduction of the first Pentium II processors for notebook PCs, according to sources at IBM.

The new ThinkPad 600 series of notebooks will come in a design that is almost the same the thickness of the ultraslim 560 notebooks and come with 12.1-inch and extra-large 13.3-inch screens.

However, the new machines will contain technology typically found in IBM?s top-of-the-line ThinkPad 770 machines, sources at IBM's ThinkPad division said.

The 600 machines, for instance, will use the "Ultra Bay" technology, which allows the thin design to accept devices such as a CD-ROM drive, a feature which the current 560 lacks. "It's like the 770, but slimmer," said the source.

The 600 ThinkPads will also start their life with Pentium II processors.

Along with the release of these new notebooks, IBM will upgrade its current notebook line to accommodate the first of the Pentium II processors for mobile computers.

New versions of the 770 ThinkPads incorporating 233-MHz and 266-MHz Pentium II mobile processors will come out during this time frame.

At least one of the new 770 machines will use a large-capacity 8.1 GB hard drive. Also, the huge 14.1-inch screens, which are currently not in large supply, will become more prevalent.

In addition, IBM will bring out a new model in the 380 series of notebooks with a Pentium II.