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Intel Tillamook chip coming

Intel's new MMX Pentium processor for notebook PCs, due September 8, will advance clock speeds, spawn new products.

Tillamook, Intel's new Pentium MMX processor for mobile computers, will be released on September 8 at a press conference at the company's Santa Clara, California, headquarters.

The processor will contain a number of new features.

First, Tillamook advances clock speeds for mobile computers from 166 MHz to 200 and 233 MHz. Later in the year, or early next year, Intel will release a 266-MHz version of the chip.

Second, the processor comes on a module, a small circuit board which contains other companion chips. This will allow notebook and laptop computer makers to bring out new models with the latest, speedy processors more quickly. This is because much of the main computer circuitry is already contained on the module, so the core electronics come ready-made with the processor.

This is a business model that has worked well for Intel on the desktop. When Intel brings out a new generation of desktop processors, it jump starts the market by supplying the new processors on circuit boards--referred to as motherboards--which PC vendors can relatively quickly insert into new systems.

Intel will extend this notebook module strategy to mobile Pentium II processors due toward the middle of 1998.

Tillamook is the first processor from Intel (INTC) to use a cutting-edge production technology called the ".25 micron" process.

Several manufacturers are slated to introduce Tillamook-powered notebooks on the heels of Intel's release. IBM will release the ThinkPad 770, a new high-end notebook with the new chips. IBM, at that time, is also expected to upgrade its ThinkPad 380 line, with new models using the 166-MHz Pentium MMX processors. Currently, the 380 tops out at 150 MHz. IBM will further reduce prices on existing 380 ThinkPads also.

Toshiba will announce a new Tecra portable with a 233-MHz Tillamook, according to industry sources. The Tecra is Toshiba's portable for corporate users wanting a desktop PC-replacement.

Compaq is expected to release a 7000 Armada-class notebook with the Tillamook processor as well as a Presario-class consumer notebook. Sources said that the Presario notebook will likely come out close to the time of the chip's release, while the Armada will appear later.

Tillamook notebooks are expected to cost between $3000 and $4000 when they first appear, said analysts.

Intel chief operating officer Craig Barrett will host the event, which will take place on Monday, September 8 at 10:30 a.m.

Intel is an investor in CNET: The Computer Network.