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Mid-range notebooks rev up

The mid-range--and probably even the low-end--notebook PC market is showing signs of creeping toward the 100 MHz Pentium mark as IBM and Texas Instruments move their lower-cost lines to the faster processor.

The mid-range--and probably even the low-end--notebook PC market is showing signs of creeping toward the 100 MHz Pentium mark as IBM and Texas Instruments move their lower-cost lines to the faster processor.

This means many full-featured notebooks in the $2,000-to-$3,500 range will pack speedy 100-MHz Pentium processors instead of the 75-MHz and 90-MHz processors that are now standard.

IBM will upgrade its entry-level ThinkPad 365 line to the 100-MHz Mobile Pentium processor, said sources familiar with the move. The existing 365 still uses Intel's 486 DX4 processor.

Some of the new IBM 365 models will also use a PCI bus for the first time and a larger 11.3-inch dual-scan liquid crystal display, sources said. The new ThinkPads are expected to be announced next month, with pricing in line with current models, ranging in price from about $2,000 to $3,000.

TI is also expected to upgrade its mid-range Extensa line to the 100-MHz Pentium processor in place of the 75-MHz Pentium.

AST Research has already announced a mid-range line of J series Ascentia notebooks that use the 100-MHz Mobile Pentium processor.