Intel will ship in August a 150-MHz Pentium processor for portables, quelling speculation that the chip giant would bypass this next-generation mobile processor in favour of one running at 166 MHz, sources say.
But the real question is whether IS managers will bite at the new 150-MHz notebooks sure to follow.
"Not me," says Stephen Wittner, network manager at Centex Group, a construction contracting company in Dallas. "For what we do here, a Pentium at 75 MHz or 100 MHz does the job just fine. Face it, I can spend US$2000 to get the job done. Why would I spend thousands more to get it done just a little faster?"
Wittner manages about 100 IBM ThinkPads.
Another IS manager, Fred Winograd of Montgomery Securities, in San Francisco, has a different take on the selling points of the 150-MHz Pentium chip.
"If you use a notebook as your only computer, a desktop replacement, then sure, a faster processor makes sense," Winograd says.
Although some IS managers have reservations about deploying the latest technology, most vendors, including Texas Instruments, IBM and NEC have begun promising the speedy adoption of the 150-MHz processor when it becomes available. Systems are due to appear almost simultaneously with Intel's August ship date.
However, Toshiba is one notable exception. To Toshiba, the jury is still out on the chip.
"We're really looking at what advantages the 150 would be to our customers," says Jeffrey Friederichs, vice-president of marketing for Toshiba's worldwide computer systems group. "We could do it, but it's too early to say we're on board."
Not everyone agrees with Toshiba's wait-and-see strategy.
"I don't know that people will wait [for the 166-MHz notebooks], but I don't think so," says an IS consultant to a large health care organisation. "They will buy as much power as they can get. In reality, anything over 90 MHz or 100 MHz is overkill for most corporate users, but for some, this is about `My toy is bigger than your toy'."