Intel speeds up Pentium 4-M, Celerons

Computer makers have started implementing the new mobile processors, which come in 2.5GHz, 2.2GHz and 1.2GHz speeds.

John G. Spooner
John G. Spooner Staff Writer, CNET News.com
John Spooner
covers the PC market, chips and automotive technology.
2 min read
PC makers have begun beefing up their notebooks with a trio of new mobile processors from Intel.

The chipmaker on Wednesday launched a new 2.5GHz Pentium 4-M processor and two new Celerons running at 2.2GHz and 1.26GHz, respectively. The chips address several categories of notebook PCs and are the latest mobile processors from Intel since its new Pentium M debuted in March.

Gateway is among the first PC makers to adopt one of the chips. The Poway, Calif., company's new 600XL computer incorporates the 2.5GHz Pentium 4-M and sports a 15.7-inch screen and a DVD burner for a starting price of $2,499.

The 600XL is Gateway's first notebook to offer a DVD burner, a DVD-RW drive. Sony and Toshiba have been offering a similar drive since late last year, and Hewlett-Packard introduced a new Pavilion notebook with a DVD+RW format drive earlier this month.

The Gateway notebook also includes 512MB of RAM, a 60GB hard drive and built-in 802.11b wireless networking.

Dell Computer plans to include the 2.5GHz chip in a high-end notebook, a company representative said. Intel expects Hewlett-Packard, Sony and Toshiba to adopt the chip as well.

On the other end of the spectrum, the 2.2GHz Celeron is for low-price systems, and the 1.26GHz Celeron is for mininotebooks, Intel said.

Intel is expected to bring out at least one more Pentium 4-M later this year. But the role of its mobile Pentium 4 processor will be changing soon.

Chip transition
Intel is working to move its notebook customers from the Pentium 4-M to the newer Pentium M. The Pentium M, which uses less power and offers nearly as much performance, is at the heart of Intel's new Centrino family of chips for wireless notebooks. Most manufacturers are expected to adopt the Pentium M as the processor for their flagship notebook models.

With this shift getting underway, Intel is expected to change the mission of the mobile Pentium 4. The chipmaker is expected to shift the mobile Pentium 4's focus from lightweight performance notebooks and use it to address desktop-style notebooks, sometimes called desknotes, which have become popular with consumers.

Most of the desknotes available now use desktop Pentium 4 chips. To counter this trend, Intel will augment the Pentium 4-M with a new strain of mobile Pentium 4 chips, with clock speeds that are closer to its desktop processors. These chips, which will basically be desktop Pentium 4s in mobile packaging, will allow Intel to offer lower prices and higher clock speeds, and will support desktop features such as hyper-threading in notebooks.

While it plans to offer the Pentium 4-M along with the new mobile Pentium 4 chips, Intel believes that most new notebook models will incorporate the Pentium M, the new mobile Pentium 4 chips or its Celeron processor.

Intel's 2.5GHz Pentium 4-M costs $562 when purchased in 1,000-unit lots. The 2.2GHz Celeron lists for $149, and the 1.26GHz chip is $107.