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 industrys 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.
Theres also a debate between Intel and upstart chipmaker Transmeta Corp. as to whose microprocessors perform better.
"Theyre 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 rivals 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 worlds 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.
[back to top]