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Dell, Others Embrace Intel's Pentium III-M

Intel Corp. has officially unveiled its long-awaited, 0.13-micron Pentium III mobile processor (a.k.a. "Tualatin"), and notebook vendors ranging from Dell and Compaq to Sony and IBM are rushing to ship new laptops featuring the top-of-the-line 1.13GHz CPU -- which Intel says can deliver 40 percent longer battery life, 25 percent higher performance with office productivity applications, and 45 percent higher performance with games than the previous 1GHz mobile P-III.

Equipped with 512K of Level 2 cache and a 133MHz system bus, the Pentium III-M (to give the CPU its official name) is available in five speeds, from 866MHz ($247 apiece in 1,000-unit quantities) and 933MHz ($278) to 1.0GHz ($394), 1.06GHz ($499), and 1.13GHz ($625). All five processor speeds are available today.

"Intel is using its silicon leadership, advanced mobile processor technologies and new mobile chipset family to deliver the highest performance and low power for the mobile market segment," said Frank Spindler, vice president and general manager of Intel's Mobile Platforms Group. "Incredible performance, great battery life and wireless connectivity -- mobile PCs just made a major leap forward with Pentium III processor-M based systems."

Intel also promises 1.13GHz and 1.2GHz, 0.13-micron Pentium IIIs (with 256K L2 cache) for the desktop, although it's made it clear they'll be relatively short-lived and high-priced, due to the company's massive, mass-market Pentium 4 push. Server builders and desktop hot-rodders will lust after the 1.26GHz, 512K-L2-cache Pentium III-S server variant.

Meanwhile, laptop vendors are hurrying to refresh their deluxe portables with the 1.13GHz Pentium III-M. Dell Computer Corp., for instance, has turned the Inspiron 8000 and Latitude C800 into the Inspiron 8100 and Latitude C810, respectively. The former starts at $2,049 with the 1.13GHz processor, 128MB of SDRAM, a 15-inch SXGA+ (1,400 by 1,050) display, 10GB hard disk, CD-ROM drive, 16MB Nvidia GeForce2go graphics accelerator, and Microsoft Windows Me. The Latitude C810 starts at $2,459 with similar specs except for a 15-inch UXGA (1,600 by 1,200) screen and Windows 2000.

--Eric Grevstad is managing editor of HardwareCentral.