After 30 years of equating faster clock rates with higher performance, Intel Corp. next year will release a mobile chip that runs slower but performs faster than existing chips.
While the new processor, code-named Banias, is likely to make a splash in the mobile market, its impact could also ripple into the desktop arena by bolstering charges made by rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and others that clock speed is not the major factor in gauging performance.
Intel, of Santa Clara, Calif., will offer more details on Banias at next weeks Intel Developer Forum in San Jose, Calif. Sources said the chip maker will not discuss chip frequencies but will instead highlight Banias energy-efficient design as ideal for battery-powered notebooks.
In discussions with business partners and analysts, however, sources said Intel has disclosed Banias will be introduced at 1.4GHz to 1.6GHz and will outperform its own higher-clocked mobile Pentium 4 chips running at more than 2GHz on benchmark tests.
An Intel spokeswoman declined to comment on the clock ratings cited by sources and instead restated the companys public position that Banias "is being designed to deliver the highest level of performance while consuming the lowest amount of power."
But AMD and mobile users arent the only ones who stand to gain from Banias performance marks. The chips performance over faster Pentium 4 chips could lend credence to a lawsuit filed by a handful of PC buyers against Intel this summer. The suit, filed in the 3rd Judicial Circuit in Madison County, Ill., claims early versions of the Pentium 4 processor did not outperform older Pentium III chips as the chip maker claimed.
The case, brought by the law firm Carr Korein Tillery, of St. Louis, largely parallels AMDs arguments that the Pentium 4 accomplishes less per clock cycle than an Athlon XP or older Pentium III. As a result, the chip has to run at higher speeds to handle the same workload as slower Athlon XP or Pentium III chips.