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AMS, Micron prep Tillamook books

Two more manufacturers declare they will release new models coinciding with the debut of Intel's improved portable chip.

Notebook vendors AMS Tech and Micron have announced that they too will release Tillamook notebooks concurrent with Intel's roll out of the chip on September 8.

Intel Tillamook processors, due for release on September 8, run at 200 and 233 MHz. A 266-MHz model is slated for late 1997 or early 1998. Currently, Intel's most powerful notebook processor is a Pentium MMX chip running at 166 MHz. The Tillamook chips will come on "modules" that contain peripheral chips and other features often contained on PC circuit boards.

AMS will come out with the Rodo series of notebook computers on that day, said Bonnie Quan, a spokeswoman for AMS. Rodo notebooks will use Tillamook 200-MHz and 233-MHz processors, and some models will come with 14.1-inch screens. The Rodo line will also contain current-generation Pentium MMX processors running at 166 MHz.

In the meantime, the Irwindale, California-based company has released two new notebooks that use Pentium MMX processors for desktops. The AMS TravelPro 2040CX features a 233-MHz Pentium MMX complemented by a 3.1GB hard drive, 80MB of EDO high-speed memory, and a 13.3-inch screen. It will carry an estimated street price of $4,995.

The TravelPro 1970CT uses the same 233-MHz processor, but lower-level components. The standard configuration comes with 48MB of EDO memory and a 12.1-inch screen. It will sell for $3,295.

Micron too has announced it will unveil Tillamook-based notebooks on the 8th, but has not released further details.

Nearly every vendor will release portables timed to coincide with Intel's announcement. IBM will release a new series of ThinkPads, the 770 series, which will feature extra-large hard drives, DVD drives, and 14-inch screens, said sources. IBM will release four models in the 770 series, as well as show off a new, non-Tillamook ThinkPad 760.

Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, and others will also reveal business and consumer notebooks featuring the Tillamook chip.

Although the ThinkPad 770 series computers will come out at price points between $6,000 and $,8000, most new Tillamook computers will initially be priced between $2,500 and $4,500, said Rob Enderle, senior industry analyst at Giga Information Group.