Laptop makers load new Intel mobile chips

Computer makers have used Intel's Pentium 4 Processor-M (mobile) launch event to show off their latest laptop computers.

Computer makers have used Intel's Pentium 4 Processor-M (mobile) launch event to show off their latest laptop computers.

A wide range of Intel's mobile computer OEMs, including Dell Computer, IBM and Compaq Computer, have unveiled new models featuring the latest Intel chips.

Intel introduced three new Processor-M chips running at speeds of 1.4GHz, 1.5GHz, and 1.8GHz. However in addition to the new Intel chips, wireless options and ease-of-use features were in the spotlight.

On the ease-of-use front, IBM launched a new ThinkPad T30 laptop system which, for the first time, incorporates both an IBM TrackPoint mouse/pointer system and a Synaptics TouchPad system, according to IBM representative Rick Bause.

Dubbed "UltraNav," the combined controls allow users to steer a mouse/pointer with either the red eraser-style TrackPoint button in the middle of the keyboard or by moving a finger across the TouchPad at the base of the keyboard. UltraNav can be customised for a variety of user preferences and functions or disabled entirely, Bause said.

The ThinkPad T30 is also the first IBM laptop to offer built-in. Aironet 350 Series Wi-Fi 802.11b wireless LAN technology from Cisco Systems as well as Intel's PRO/Wireless 802.11b LAN technology. To maximise signal gain, the T30 hosts an embedded dual antenna in the display screen of the laptop.

Expected to be generally available by 8 May, the T30 will range in price from $2,499 (£1,720) to $3,499 (£2,409, according to IBM.

Compaq also upped its ante in the wireless laptop market with three new laptops running the latest Intel mobile chips: the Compaq Presario 2800, Evo Notebook N800v and Evo Notebook N800c. With the new systems, the company continues to evolve its mobile wireless strategy using its MultiPort design technology.

A low profile attachment that slides in place on the outside top of the laptop's screen, Compaq's MultiPort system allows users to interchange wireless components and other system peripherals quickly. MultiPort modules are available for Bluetooth and 802.11b wireless technologies.

The Presario 2800 will cost from $1,399 (£963) while the Evo Notebooks will start at $1,959 (£1,349).

Dell used the added speed of the new Intel mobile chips to launch what it called a "mobile workstation". Designed for users who require workstation-level hardware in a mobile form factor, the Dell Precision M50 packs high-end graphics technology such as the nVidia Quadro4 500 Go GL graphics processing unit and as much as 60Gbytes of ATA-100 hard drive memory. Prices start at $3,599 (£2,478).

Laptop systems from Hewlett-Packard, Chem USA, Sybersay Communications and WinBook were also on display at the Intel launch running the new mobile chips.

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