Low-power mobile chips displayed at Comdex

InfoWorld |  Hardware

REDUCED POWER consumption for increased battery life in mobile computing systems and the arrival of Intel's Pentium IV processor will be big topics at the Comdex show this week in Las Vegas.

Transmeta's Crusoe processor brought the issue of low power consumption to the forefront of the industry when it appeared in third-party mobile computers last June at the PCExpo in New York, and it became the first processor specifically designed to operate under low power conditions. From its inception, officials at Santa Clara, Calif.-based Transmeta said Crusoe is capable of running complex operating systems like Windows 2000 using as little as one watt of power.

  A burst of features  
 

Intel's Pentium IV NetBurst Micro-Architecture includes several new features.

* A rapid execution engine that runs certain instructions at twice the processor speed

* A 400MHz system bus with three times the bandwidth of Pentium IIIs

* Enhanced streaming technology for improved video, speech, 3-D, and multimedia

 
But after announcements last week from both IBM and Compaq that the companies would wait before integrating Crusoe into their mobile computer offerings, Transmeta's Crusoe arrives at Comdex without the endorsements of two major suppliers of mobile computers to business and industry.

Instead, Crusoe will appear at Comdex wrapped in products from some of the same companies that supported Crusoe at the PCExpo, including Sony, NEC, Fujitsu, and Hitachi. Microsoft is also expected to show Crusoe in the company's fledgling Tablet PC, and wearable computer maker Via, based in Burnsville, Minn., will have Crusoe running in the company's latest offerings.

IBM had a Crusoe-powered ThinkPad model 240 at the PCExpo, but now plans to show that same model loaded with a low-power-consuming 500-300MHz Pentium III SpeedStep processor due in 2001 from Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel, sources said.

Houston, Texas-based Compaq Computer and Round Rock, Texas-based Dell Computer will also use low-power-consuming Intel SpeedStep chips for their mobile computer demos. And Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard, which will use Comdex to announce its entrance into the ultraportable computer market, the target market for Crusoe, has opted to use Intel processors as well.

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