Intel has quietly started selling a new version of its mobile Pentium M chip so that select manufacturers can cut the price of their notebooks.
The Pentium M 705 runs at 1.5GHz and contains 1MB of cache. The chip is based on the Banias generation of Pentium Ms, which first hit the market in 2003. Both Dell and HP sell it in current notebooks. Intel produces the chip to accommodate computer manufacturers on special request, an Intel representative said.
The chip essentially increases the price-performance spectrum of the mobile chips sold under model numbers. Previously, the slowest and cheapest model number chip was the Pentium M 715, which runs at 1.5GHz and comes with 2MB of cache. Until the arrival of the Pentium M 705, all of the model number chips came from the Dothan generation of chips that came out earlier this year.
The Pentium M presumably sells for a little less than the Pentium M 715, which sells for $209 in quantities of 1,000, but the representative would not discuss pricing. A Dell Inspiron notebook equipped with a Pentium M 725 costs $50 more than the same notebook with a Pentium M 705. The Pentium M 725 itself sells for $241, or $32 more than the Pentium M 715.
Intel has actually been selling a 1.5GHz Banias chip for a while. The new chip is nearly identical, but it's not exactly a duplicate. There are minor architectural differences, which do not affect performance, and the chip is sold under a model number. The 1.5GHz Banias sells for $209 but is being phased out.
Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel has issued chips to accommodate customers several times in the past. Often, Intel takes an older, slightly cheaper chip and puts it in the package of new chips so that it can be used in current notebooks.