A cavalcade of notebooks will hit shelves and e-commerce sites soon, as
Intel on Monday will come out with five new notebook processors, including
two low-power chips designed to compete against Transmeta's Crusoe.
The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company will release a 750-MHz Pentium III
and two Celerons running at 650-MHz and 600-MHz for the mainstream notebook
market, said sources close to the company.
In addition, two lower-power processors for the ultraportable market will
emerge: a 600-MHz Pentium III that consumes an average of less than a watt
of power, as well as a 500-MHz Celeron that consumes less than two watts.
Nearly all major manufacturers say they will incorporate some, or all, of
these chips into notebooks in the coming weeks.
Desktops also will be in the news next week, as Intel on the same day will
come out with its 815 chipset, which will allow PC makers to marry the
latest Pentium III technology without adopting expensive Rambus memory.
All this silicon comes at a critical time for Intel. Pentium IIIs and many
Celerons have been in short
supply since October because of a factory capacity shortage,
higher-than-expected demand and, according to some, sporadic manufacturing
difficulties. The shortage has stunted sales. Rival Advanced Micro Devices,
meanwhile, has been grabbing more market share in the performance desktop
"Intel's supply capabilities scared a lot of customers," Simon Lin, CEO of
Acer Information Products Group, said in an interview earlier this week.
"Perhaps these alternatives will have a better chance."
Notebook chips have remained one of Intel's more profitable segments, but
the company will soon see the emergence of a new competitor in Transmeta.
Transmeta, which has developed
a low-powered chip for notebooks, plans to show off at PC Expo later this
month a number of notebooks for the business market from major
manufacturers using its 5400 Crusoe processor.
"We're going to show a lot of great notebooks at PC Expo," said Jim
Chapman, Transmeta senior vice president of sales and marketing.
The company's coming out party is significant in that no company to date
has seriously competed against Intel in the business market. IBM has
already said it will show off a Transmeta-based notebook. Compaq Computer
and Gateway also are likely to be there, as both invested in Transmeta
earlier this year.
"Intel is getting within striking distance, and that may be all they need,"
said Kevin Krewell, an analyst with MicroDesign Resources. "If I am an MIS
guy, and I have a choice between Transmeta...and Intel, the corporate guy
will probably go for Intel."