Intel postpones Pentium Pro notebook drive

Intel will skip the notebook version of its MMX-enhanced P6 processor, code-named Klamath, because it runs too hot.

Intel will skip the notebook version of its MMX-enhanced P6 processor, code-named Klamath, because it runs too hot.

Instead, Intel will go directly to a notebook version of its next-generation processor, code-named Deschutes.

As a result, although Pentium MMX notebook processors will be introduced and enhanced in 1997, there will be no Intel Pentium Pro-class notebook processor until 1998.

Power consumption is a major concern in notebooks, says John Antone, product marketing manager at Intel, in Santa Clara, California. In the shift from Pentium to Pentium MMX notebook processors, power will increase slightly. However, user demands for long battery life, along with increasing power consumption from larger displays and other notebook performance enhancements, mean that the processor's power draw cannot increase.

"That [Pentium] level of power will remain constant through the P6 generation," Antone says. "We have a commitment not to change the thermal envelope before the end of the decade."

Most notebook vendors are likely to rally around the mobile version of the Pentium Pro when it is released, according to industry analysts. However, several major hurdles loom for incorporating the new processor into the body of a notebook.

"Mobile Pentium Pro will mean we are looking at a big generational change, where everything is up in the air," said Dean McCarron, an industry analyst with Mercury Research, in Scottsdale, Arizona. "We're talking about a ground-up redesign."

Several system vendors said they will engineer their notebooks to accommodate the P6 processor in parallel with Intel's efforts next year.

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