Intel Pushes 1.5GHz Mobile Pentium 4

While promoting the upcoming release of the latest mobile Pentium chip, Intel remains coy about a more powerful mobile processor the chip maker's developing, code-named Banias.

SAN JOSE, Calif.—Intel Corp. promoted its upcoming release of a 1.5GHz mobile Pentium 4 at an industry conference here on Monday, but remained coy when it came time to talk about a more powerful mobile processor the chip makers developing, code-named Banias.

While many chip makers gathering at the annual Microprocessor Forum touted their future road maps, Intels mobile representative focused instead on the companys achievements this year, during which time it has released 29 mobile processors.

In his address to the conference, Bob Jackson, principal engineer of Intels Mobile Platforms Group, sought to emphasize how the Santa Clara, Calif., company delivered on the promises it made at last years conference.

"In 2001, we delivered the highest performance and lowest power in mobile PCs," Jackson said. "We provided leadership in every mobile segment, on time, every time."

He also touted the companys new mobile chip set, the 845MP, the chip makers transition to 0.13-micron manufacturing process and enhancements to the companys power-saving Speed Step Technology.

As for the mobile Pentium 4, Jackson disclosed that the chip will initially be released at 1.5GHz early next year and be scaled up to 2GHz by the end of 2002.

Although the mobile Pentium 4 will attain faster clock speeds and offer better multimedia performance than current mobile Pentium IIIs, the chips relatively high power consumption and hot-running temperatures are seen as poorly suited for the mobile market.

The challenges of reducing energy consumption to ease the drain on notebook batteries and the need to resolve cooling issues have resulted in the unusually long delay between the release of the first Pentium 4 for the desktop in November 2000 and the final release of the mobile version in early 2002.

With the wide awareness in the industry of the mobile Pentium 4s difficulties, many industry insiders were eagerly seeking further details on Banias, a new mobile architecture first publicly discussed at Intels own Developers Forum in August.

Banias, scheduled for release in early 2003, will be designed to not only be Intels fastest mobile chip, but also its most energy efficient.

The chip, which will be designed in part from the Pentium III core, will feature a new energy-saving design that will essentially cut off power to parts of the processor when they are not in use.

In his address, Jackson touted the product as offering "the highest performance that weve ever had in mobile designs. Its going to scale top to bottom of our mobile line."

But aside from the teasers, he offered scant details.

"Were really going to implement a lot of new things here, which Im really not going to talk about a lot today because weve run out of time," Jackson said. "What well do is save it for next year."

Earlier, Kevin Krewell, an analyst with Cahners In-Stat/MDR, which is hosting the conference, said he was disappointed that Intel would offer few details on Banias.

"They were pretty forthcoming on offering us information at IDF [Intel Developers Forum], so I was optimistic they would discuss it here," he said. "It sounds like an interesting new design, but unfortunately we wont be learning anything new this time around."