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PC sales or no, Intel, AMD flaunt chips

With the midpoint of the year upon them, the PC chipmakers Intel and Advanced Micro Devices fill out their product lines and hope for the best in the second half.

With the midpoint of the year upon them, PC chipmakers Intel and Advanced Micro Devices will fill out their product lines and hope for the best in the second half of 2001.

Late June, when the PC industry traditionally introduces new back-to-school models, has seen a dearth of PC-related announcements this year at the PC Expo trade show, part of Technology Exchange Week New York. But that hasn't stopped the chipmakers from trumpeting their latest offerings.

Intel for its part will use TechX NY to show off its latest processor technology. On Tuesday the chipmaker was displaying a pair of notebook PCs based on its forthcoming "Tualatin" Pentium III processor.

The company also showed off the mobile version of the Pentium III chip, called the Pentium III-M. Two new notebooks from Fujitsu and Acer were fitted with "1GHz or faster" Pentium III-M processors, according to an Intel representative.

The Pentium III-M, or Tualatin, chip is a version of Intel's Pentium III based on its new 0.13-micron manufacturing technology. Other versions of the Tualatin Pentium III will be manufactured for servers and desktop PCs. The first Pentium III-M chips are expected in late July, followed later in the year by low-power versions of the chip.

Intel will hold a press conference with Compaq Computer on Wednesday afternoon, during which the chipmaker will further discuss the Pentium III-M. Compaq is expected to reveal a new Evo mini-notebook. The new notebook, to be fitted with a low-power version of the Pentium III-M, will weigh in at 2.5 pounds and run for eight hours on a single charge of its Lithium-Ion Polymer battery.

AMD's "logical steps"
AMD for its part has launched all its major processor technologies for the year, except for its desktop "Palomino" processor. That chip, which will be based on the improved processor core used in AMD's existing Athlon 4 mobile and Athlon MP workstation/server chips, is expected next quarter at speeds of 1.5GHz and possibly 1.6GHz.

see special coverage: PC Expo: On the go "We're executing to the plans we put into place," said Mark Bode, division-marketing manager for AMD's desktop products. "There's logical steps you'd take" regarding frequency increases.

Throughout the rest of the year, AMD plans to march its desktop Athlon and mobile Athlon 4 chips forward at 100MHz increments, he said. The company's desktop Athlon will close out the year at 1.7GHz, Bode said.

Meanwhile, the company will boost its low-priced desktop Duron chip to 1GHz later in the second half.

The chip currently offers speeds of 950MHz. Bode suggested that the PC based on a 1GHz Duron processor might make a good Christmas gift.

The PC industry has "some big momentum stuff coming out later in the year," such as Windows XP, he said.

Intel is also using the show to begin touting its Pentium 4 chip to corporate IT managers, through meetings and demonstrations. Intel Executive Vice President Michael Splinter is also expected to unveil a faster, 1.8GHz version of the Pentium 4 in his Wednesday TechX NY keynote.

But while back-to-school may provide a bump in PC sales, it's the holiday season that Intel, AMD and PC makers will be looking to for the gift of being pulled out of the doldrums.