Electronic Design

Dual-Mode CPU Offers Notebooks 700-MHz Desktop Performance

Hard on the heels of the 600- and 650-MHz models introduced earlier in the year, Intel has launched a 700-MHz version of its Mobile Pentium III with SpeedStep technology. This chip gives notebook computers the power to deliver desktop performance without compromising mobility. The SpeedStep power-reduction feature lets the processor switch between two modes, "maximum performance" and "battery operated," for power savings.

When a notebook computer using one of these processors is unplugged from an ac source, the operating speed drops to 550 MHz. Also, the operating voltage is lowered from 1.60 to 1.35 V. In this mode, the processor consumes less than 2 W. When the connection with the power line is reestablished, the higher voltage and frequency are automatically restored. An override feature sustains the higher voltage and frequency in the battery mode. This is implemented via an icon in the Windows Taskbar.

Power consumption varies with the square of the voltage and linearly with regard to frequency. Lowering both parameters, then, significantly reduces power consumption. In fact, SpeedStep reduces active processor power up to 45% to 50% while maintaining nearly 80% of the maximum performance. The transfer occurs in 0.5 ms, so no detectable change occurs on the screen.

This 700-MHz processor is based on the 600- and 650-MHz versions. Like these earlier models, the 700-MHz CPU includes a 100-MHz system bus for fast access to memory and graphics and an integrated on-die 256-kbyte full-speed, advanced transfer cache. The processor also includes 70 streaming single-instruction/multiple-data instructions that let mobile PC users handle video, graphics, and audio.

In 1000-unit quantities, the 700-MHz Mobile Pentium III processor costs $562. It is available immediately in production quantities.

Intel Corp., 2200 Mission College Blvd., P.O. Box 58119, Santa Clara, CA 95052-8119; (800) 628-8686; Internet: www.intelcom/mobile.

TAGS: Intel
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