Notebook vendors keen on Intel’s ‘interim’ MMX chip

Intel's latest notebook chip, the 266MHz Tillamook MMX processor, is being snapped up by vendors. The Tillamook is likely to have a small window of opportunity as Intel prepares to present the higher-performing Deschutes processor next quarter. Deschutes processors, which will start at 266MHz, are expected to improve notebook performance by 25% to 30% but will also sap battery life by an additional 10% to 15%, US analysts say.

Intel’s latest notebook chip, the 266MHz Tillamook MMX processor, is being snapped up by vendors.

The Tillamook is likely to have a small window of opportunity as Intel prepares to present the higher-performing Deschutes processor next quarter.

Deschutes processors, which will start at 266MHz, are expected to improve notebook performance by 25% to 30% but will also sap battery life by an additional 10% to 15%, US analysts say.

In the meantime Compaq has been the first to introduce to the New Zealand press its latest Tillamook range, headed by the 266MHz Armada 7792DMT with 32Mb RAM, 13.3in XGA-resolution thin-film transistor screen, 5Gb hard drive expandable to 10Gb and a 20x CD-ROM.

Other 266MHz Tillamook notebooks introduced — or about to to be introduced — internationally include Dell’s Inspiron 3000, Toshiba’s Tecra 550CDT, HP’s OmniBook 3000 and IBM’s 380XD ThinkPad.

Compaq business marketing manager George Hladilo presented nine new notebooks in total last week, offering options for buyers ranging from power users, mobile professionals, field sales people and budget-driven workers. Processors range from 166MHz at the low end, with prices starting at $3545, to 200MHz, 233MHz and the $9895 Armada. The 233MHz processor is available in all families. Standard 28.8Kbit/s modems built into the high-end models are upgradable to K56Flex. Users can choose between Windows NT and Windows 95.

The new models are designed to meet Microsoft’s advanced configuration and power interface (ACPI) configuration for improved power management and ease of set-up.

Meanwhile, competitor Dell expects the new 266MHz processor to improve the performance of notebook PCs between 7% and 10%.

Its Inspiron 3000 M266XT, designed for small and medium-sized businesses and experienced individual users, is priced at $6229. It has 32Mb of RAM, a 3.2Gb hard drive and a 20x variable speed CD-ROM drive.

Toshiba country manager Ralph Bray-ham says his company’s latest notebook, the Tecra 550CDT, represents a significant step forward for power users and professionals who use their notebooks for presentations. Its estimated price is $7360. It has 32Mb RAM, a 3.8Gb hard drive and a 20x CD-ROM. All prices exclude GST.

Hladilo also showed IDC Research-based charts illustrating an increase in Compaq’s market share against a slight drop by market leader Toshiba.

He attributes Compaq’s few-percent rise mainly to an emphasis on improving quality and support after earlier difficulties with its notebook range. A sales drive for the new models includes extensive support programmes, including Web connections and CD help, as well as a reseller incentive scheme which offers pay for performance.

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