Tuesday, January 30, 2001
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Posted on: Tuesday, January 30, 2001

Intel creates energy-saving chips for edge in manufacturing race

Associated Press

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Advancing again in the race to manufacture chips for the mobile computer market, Intel Corp. has built two energy-saving versions of its Pentium III and Celeron microprocessors.

The two new low-voltage chips, to be introduced today, are designed for lightweight notebooks weighing less than three pounds. One of them, the Pentium III, is the industry’s first to operate at 300-megahertz speed under 1 volt while consuming less than a half watt of power, Intel officials said.

Developing such power-efficient microprocessors has become a high-stakes competition in the fast-growing segment of notebook computers, which is projected to triple to 30 million units in the United States by the year 2005.

There’s also a debate between Intel and upstart chipmaker Transmeta Corp. as to whose microprocessors perform better.

"They’re catching up and validating the fact that low-power is important in the marketplace," said Dave Ditzel, chief executive officer of Transmeta Corp., of its rival’s new offerings.

Transmeta introduced its Crusoe line of energy-saving microprocessors last year.

The chips use a so-called code-morphing software technology to regulate power consumption and extend battery life.

Intel, the world’s leading chipmaker, is fighting back with its own line of power-saving chips, using a technology it developed in 1999 called SpeedStep.

The new Pentium III chip operates at a speed of 500 megahertz when the laptop is plugged in, but, using SpeedStep, it automatically drops down to 300 megahertz in battery mode and can consume less than a half watt while running normal applications.

The new Celeron chip is a 500-megahertz microprocessor, uses 1.1 volts, and consumes an average of less than a watt of power.

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