Intel rushes out portable Pentium 4 following laptop makers' pressure

Intel has rushed out a portable version of its Pentium 4 processor following pressure from PC manufacturers, some of whom have...

Intel has rushed out a portable version of its Pentium 4 processor following pressure from PC manufacturers, some of whom have already gone to market with laptops incorporating the desktop version of the chip, writes Eric Doyle.

Intel said the new Pentium 4-M (P4-M) will offer better battery life due to the inclusion of power-saving features such as Deeper Sleep, Speedstep and Mobile Voltage Positioning (MVP).

Deeper Sleep turns off unnecessary features but keeps the system ticking over ready for use. Speedstep automatically optimises application performance and power usage by varying the clock speed of the chip. And MVP fine-tunes to ensure that the processor only receives the minimum power to execute the task in hand.

The new chip is available in 1.6GHz and 1.7GHz versions that incorporate the Netburst architecture, Intel's speed-enhancing extensions and a 400MHz processor-to-chipset bus.

The problem facing Intel is that P4s are about half the price of P4-Ms, and power saving is irrelevant when a laptop is bought purely as a desktop replacement.

Another issue is whether, for general use, the P4-M offers sufficient performance benefits over the Pentium III-M - which will still be available for use in sub-notebooks and Tablet PCs.

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