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Intel paves way for new laptop Pentium

The company will hit the 2GHz mark for notebook PCs at the end of this month when it launches its new Pentium 4-M chip.

Intel will hit the 2GHz mark for notebook PCs this month with a new Pentium 4-M chip.

The end-of-June launch--one of Intel's fastest introductions of a new chip--means the chipmaker will meet an internal target for shipping a 2GHz Pentium 4-M by midyear.

The Pentium 4-M chip moved from 1.7GHz at its introduction to 2GHz in just three months. It took the desktop Pentium 4 several quarters to make the same jump.

Originally, Intel was expected to offer a 2GHz Pentium 4-M for notebooks later this year, but the company moved up that projection during its April analyst meeting. During that meeting, Paul Otellini, Intel's president and chief operating officer, set the midyear mark. But the move was overshadowed by other announcements, including news of the Itanium 2 as Intel's next chip for large servers.

Intel has always said it would transition to the Pentium 4-M from its Pentium III-M more quickly for notebooks than it did for desktop chips. Still, the Pentium 4-M faced several obstacles. The first notebooks to use the chip were relatively expensive, costing $2,500 or more. This limited the chip's adoption early on, analysts said, and some manufacturers opted to build products with Pentium 4 desktop chips instead to hold prices down.

Intel moved quickly to remedy the situation, introducing two new lower-clock speed, lower-priced chips in April. Those chips run at 1.5GHz and 1.6GHz. The company then cut prices on Pentium 4-M chips to further spur demand.

Now, with the chip more established, Intel will increase the clock speed more aggressively.

The 2GHz will likely be introduced along with a 1.9GHz chip. If Intel follows a path similar to the one it took with its desktop chips, the mobile chip's clock speed will jump to 2.2GHz in the fourth quarter and probably 2.4GHz in the first quarter of 2003, sources familiar with the company's plans said.

The new mobile chip will initially find its way to customers in high-end notebooks. PC makers will likely offer the 2GHz chip in their flagship models on the new launch date and fan it out into different models during the third quarter.

Intel declined to comment for this story.