Dial 'M' For Celeron

Intel tweaks its low-cost, entry-level processor to handle Centrino instructions for thin and light laptops and other applications.

Intel has launched a new line of low-cost processors to round out its Centrino mobile family of chips.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip making giant has re-designed its entry-level Celeron chip into a mobile processor for use in thin and light notebooks. Usually Celeron chips are reserved for the discount PC market but are sometimes used in portable desktop replacement notebooks where mobility is not a concern.

The No. 1 chipmaker said the re-branded chip comes with a new logo and two versions: standard-voltage and ultra-low voltage (ULV). Both are built using Intel's 0.13-micron process technology.

Similar to its Pentium M processor, Intel said the Celeron M combines the company's notebook technologies such as extended battery life and built-in wireless LAN capability. But the new chip lacks things like SpeedStep technology and Hyper-Threading.

The standard-voltage version is available at speeds of 1.30 GHz and 1.20 GHz, operates at 1.356 volts and has a thermal design power (TDP) of 24.5 watts. The ULV chip is available at 800 MHz, operates at 1.004 volts and has a TDP of 7 watts. All three processors feature a 400 MHz system bus, 512 KB of L2 cache, and support advanced mobile power management, including "Deep Sleep" states, which limits power consumption of the processor during brief periods of inactivity in order to help extend the battery life.

"The processors are compatible with the Intel 855 chipset family as well as the Intel 852GM chipset to enable cost effective, scalable platforms for system manufacturers," the company said in a statement.

Intel said Celeron M could also benefit from the company's Centrino marketing machine. After spending upwards of $300 million on marketing, Intel said it is pleased with Centrino's progress. Currently, there are close to 100 different models of Centrino processors shipping.

Intel says it is seeing vendors put its chipsets in systems ranging from tablet PCs to thin-and-light designs with large screens to ultra-mobile systems that weigh less than three pounds. In some cases these mobile systems can achieve greater than five hours of battery life on a single charge.

The company also says it has verified the compatibility of Intel Centrino mobile technology with more than 14,000 hotspots worldwide, which is more than the 10,000 it had originally estimated.

While Intel could not say which of the PC vendors would be using its new mobile Celeron chips, Hewlett-Packard and Motion Computing have products based on the Celeron M for sale on their Web sites. Traditional Celeron buyers Sony , Dell , Gateway and Toshiba are also expected to put the processors in their mobile offerings.

In 1,000-unit quantities, Intel said its 1.30 GHz and 1.20 GHz Celeron M processors are priced at $134 and $107, respectively; the ULV version at 800 MHz is priced at $161.






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