Update: Intel “Dothan” Notebooks Begin Shipping

Mark Hachman

PC manufacturers have begun to announce systems based on the delayed Intel “Dothan” mobile processor, the first to use Intel’s new “model” numbers.

Available in speeds up to 2 GHz, the new Dothan processors were supposed to have been shipped last quarter. In January, however, Intel ran into a manufacturing glitch with the new chips, and company executives said they wouldn’t ship until the second quarter.

Intel launched the new chips in San Francisco this morning, and reduced prices on its other offerings over the weekend.

Dothan will use Intel’s latest 90-nm process, a shrink of the 130-nm technology used to manufacture the “Banias” processor that made up the first generation of the Pentium M. On the other hand, Intel filled out the Dothan with a larger 2-Mbyte Level-2 cache, which means that the die size of the Banias and Dothan will be about the same.

The new Dothan processors are also the first to sport Intel’s new model numbers, a tactic Intel executives planned for more than a year, but decided to forego for the launch of the original Pentium M. Rival Advanced Micro Devices already uses its own model numbers to try and better position its microprocessors against Intel’s chips.

The new Dothans will ship in three speed grades: the Pentium M 755 (2.0-GHz) Pentium M 745 (1.8-GHz), Pentium M 735 (1.7-GHz), and a Celeron derivative, the Celeron M 330 (1.4-GHz), which only includes 512 Kbytes of level-2 cache. The new Pentium Ms cost $627, $493, ad $294 in 1,000-unit lots; “Centrino” platforms boasting the processor, chipset and wireless card will be priced ranging from $363 to $709.

Dell Computer Corp., Gateway Inc., and a host of other PC OEMs plan to release notebooks with the new Dothan processors.

On Monday, Dell announced the Latitude D800, Inspiron 8600 and Dell Precision M60 mobile workstation, all of which can use the fastest version of the processor and are immediately available. Other Dell notebooks, including the Latitude D600, D505 and the Inspiron 600m can be configured with the new Dothan chips, Dell said.

Pricing for the D800 using the model 735 chip will be $1,849, a Dell representative said, while bumping up the price to the 755 version will raise the starting price to $2,299. A Latitude D505 using the Celeron M 330 chip will be initially priced at $1,149. The base prices are based on a system configuration which includes 128 MB of SDRAM, a 20 GB hard drive, an XGA display and a graphics chip with 32MB of embedded graphics memory.

A Dell Inspiron 8600 using the Pentium M 745 will cost at least $1,649, a Dell representative said. The base system uses a Pentium M 745 chip, a 15.4-inch WXGA screen, a 30-GB hard drive, 256-MB of system memory, and a GeForce FX Go5200 graphics chip with 32 MB of DDR memory.

Dell’s M60 mobile workstation will be priced at $2,599, and will include a Pentium M 735, 256 MB of RAM, a 15.4-inch WSXGA+ display, a 40-GB hard drive, and 802.11b wireless.

Gateway, meanwhile, updated its Gateway 450 and Gateway M275 notebook PC lines with the new Intel Pentium M processors.

The Gateway 450XL, priced at $2,099.99, includes the Intel Pentium M processor 745, a 15-inch SXGA+ TFT display, 512MB DDR SDRAM, a 60GB ultra ATA hard drive, and a DVD/CD burner.

The M275, meanwhile, is a convertible notebook that ships with Microsoft’s Tablet PC edition of Windows XP. Priced at only $2,099.99, the Gateway M275XL includes the new Intel Pentium M processor 745, 512 MB of DDR SDRAM memory and a 60GB hard disk drive. The digital media-ready Gateway M275 includes a CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drive and a four-in-one memory card reader that can access Smart Media, Secure Digital Stick, Multimedia Cards and Memory Stick cards.

HP, meanwhile, said that its Compaq business botebooks, including the nc4010, nc6000, nc8000 and nw8000 now support the Dothan chip. The nx5000 and nx7010 will also support the new Intel Pentium M processors later this month, HP said.

IBM announced new ThinkPad T series models, which for the first time will ship with 15-inch displays. The ThinkPad T42 and T42p will be available with “Flexview” technology, offering 170-degree viewing angles in all directions, IBM said.

Intel’s new numbering scheme will also be applied to its line of desktop processors beginning in June, according to Intel. Intel said Friday that it had withdrawn its next-generation “Tejas” chip from its roadmap, however, in favor of dual-core processors. Intel also plans to announce the Pentium M 725 (1.6-GHz) and 715 (1.5-GHz), as well as the Pentium M 753 and 733, two low-voltage derivatives of the Dothan that will run at 1.5-GHz and 1.4-GHz, respectively.

Meanwhile, Intel lowered the prices of its Centrino platform — a mobile processor, chipset, and wireless card — Sunday night, cutting the prices between 11 and 26 percent on Centrino packages from 1.5-GHz to 1.7-GHz. Intel also trimmed the price of just its 1.5-GHz to 1.7-GHz Pentium M “Banias” processors by 13 to 30 percent.

Copyright © 2004 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Originally appearing in ExtremeTech.

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