A slew of notebook PC vendors lined up behind Intel Corp.’s three new Dothan Pentium M processors on Monday with new and updated systems that feature the improved chip.

The new Pentium M processors based on the 90 nanometre Dothan core can run at faster clock speeds than their predecessors based on the Banias core. They also feature twice the Level 2 cache with 2MB, allowing the chip to store larger amounts of frequently accessed data close to the processor.

The new processors are also Intel’s first with its new processor numbering system. Three chips will be introduced later on Monday at an event in San Francisco, the Pentium M 735, Pentium M 745 and the Pentium M 755.

Chips built with the Dothan core take on the 700 series label, and the last two digits of the label reflect the overall performance of the chip based on factors such as clock speed, cache size and front-side bus speed. Older chips based on the Banias core will retain their clock-speed product labels.

The two leaders in the notebook market, Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP), will support the chip on several notebooks for enterprise and consumer users. Customers can choose configurations of Dell’s Latitude business notebooks, the Inspiron 8600 consumer notebook or the Precision M60 mobile workstation with the 735, 745 or 755 chips.

A base configuration of the Latitude D600 with the 745 chip, 256MB of memory, a 20GB hard drive, a 802.11b/g wireless chip from Broadcom Corp. and a 14.1-inch display will cost US$1,779.

All of HP’s enterprise notebooks will support the new chip in configurable models, as well as a number of fixed configurations available through retailers and HP’s Web site.

Five new fixed configurations are available Monday on HP’s Web site. On the low-end, the HP Compaq Business Notebook nc6000 costs US$2,049 with the 735 chip, 512MB of memory, a 40GB hard drive, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW (CD-rewritable) drive, a 14.1-inch display and Intel’s Pro/Wireless 2100BG chip for 802.11b/g wireless networks.

Customers looking for extreme performance can select the nw8000 mobile workstation for US$3,699, with a base configuration consisting of the 745 chip, 1GB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, a DVD+RW hard drive, a 15-inch display and a dualband 802.11a/b/g wireless chip from Atheros Communications Inc.

IBM Corp. also announced new models within its ThinkPad notebook line on Monday. The ThinkPad T42 and the mobile workstation T42p are both available with the Dothan-based Pentium M chips and new 15-inch displays that allow viewing angles up to 170 degrees.

Gateway Inc. and Toshiba Corp. also joined the Dothan launch party with new systems. Gateway updated the 450XL notebook and M275XL convertible Tablet PC with the 745 processor. The 450XL costs US$2,099 with the 745 chip, 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive, a 15-inch display and Intel’s Pro/Wireless 2100BG chip. The M275 also costs US$2,099 with the 745 chip, 512MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive, a 12.1-inch display and Intel’s Pro/Wireless 2100BG chip.

Toshiba’s Tecra M2, Tecra M2V, and Portege M200 notebooks are currently available with the new Pentium M chips, while future Satellite models will also support the chips, the company said.



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