Notebook PCs will get faster late next month when Intelintroduces speedier versions of its mobile Pentium II processor. At the same time, the company will debut the first mobile incarnations of its Celeron chip for low-priced portables. Most major vendors will have new Pentium II notebooks available for immediate delivery, and a smaller number will be ready with Celeron-based units.
The Pentium II notebooks will run at 333 MHz and 366 MHz, up from 300 MHz. But a bigger performance boost will come from integrating the Level 2 cache, which stores frequently used data, into the CPU; no other Pentium II chips have this feature. Nathan Brookwood, an analyst for Insight 64, says the 366-MHz chip may be 22% faster than the 300-MHz Pentium II. New models of IBM's ThinkPad 600E will feature the 366- MHz chip and hard drives of 4 Gbytes to 6.4 Gbytes. IBM will also introduce the 770Z, with a 366-MHz Pentium II chip and a 14.1-Gbyte hard drive.
Most vendors will include the new 266-MHz and 300-MHz Celeron chips in the low end of their lines, although some will not have products until late in the first quarter. NEC will use a 300-MHz Celeron in its lowest-cost model, which should sell for about $1,700. Hewlett-Packard will use the 300-MHz Celeron in its 2100 series, priced at about $2,000. The mobile Celeron also has an integrated L2 cache; performance should be between that of Pentium MMX and Pentium II CPUs of the same speed.