Intel Cuts Mobile Processor Prices

Intel lowers the prices of both its Pentium M microprocessors and Centrino bundles.

Intel Corp. trimmed the prices of its mobile processor lines on Sunday, lowering the prices of both its Pentium M microprocessors and members of its Centrino platform.

Intel, of Santa Clara, Calif., lowered the prices of its Pentium M chips between 13 percent and 34 percent, and trimmed the prices of its Centrino bundles by between 11 percent and 30 percent. Intels Centrino bundle consists of a Pentium M microprocessor, an Intel 855 chipset and an Intel Pro/Wireless wireless card.

Although Intel normally makes price cuts on a quarterly basis, Sundays cuts seemed like a preparation for the holiday selling season, when a large percentage of technology products are sold to consumers. Intel executives said last week that they expect the holiday sales season to be even weaker than normal. Intel struggled to overcome a slow sales season during the third quarter, citing poor PC demand, which the price cuts could help overcome.

Intel made top-to-bottom cuts across its entire Centrino line, which is sold directly to PC makers. An Intel 755—a 2GHz Pentium M chip with 2MB of Level 2 cache and a 400MHz front-side bus—was reduced by $709 to $495, a difference of 30.2 percent. The bundles also include the Intel 855 GM chipset and Intel Pro/Wireless 2100 Wi-Fi card. At the lower end of the range, the Intel 1.60GHz 725/Intel 855 PM/Intel Pro/Wireless 2200BG Centrino bundle was sliced by 11 percent, from $299 down to $267.

Intel also reduced the prices on its slower Pentium M bundles, older versions that were not labeled with the abstract 7XX model numbers Intel adopted for its newer models. The difference between the chips with "model numbers" and those without is the amount of Level 2 cache: The newer numbered chips include 2MB of cache, while the older versions contain only 1MB. Intel reduced the prices of those chips, which also run at speeds of 1.6GHz and 1.7GHz, by 10 percent to 14 percent to between $278 and $313.

Intel made similar cuts on its discrete Pentium M processors, which can be sold to OEMs without their corresponding chipsets. If an OEM does so, however, it risks losing the marketing co-payments that Intel will provide OEMs that purchase the Centrino bundle. The fastest Intel 755 was reduced from $637 to $423, a difference of 33.6 percent, while the low-end 1.60GHz Pentium M was sliced by 13 percent, from $241 to $209.

Intel also trimmed the prices of three Celeron M models, lowering the price of models 340, 330 and 320 all to $86, an indication that the slower models will be phased out in favor of the 340 chip, which runs at an actual clock speed of 1.50GHz.


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