Though Intel plans on rolling out its first Pentium II CPUs for laptops and other portable computers on April 2nd, the company has far grander plans for mobile computing. The idea is to make portable computers the equal of desktop machines while providing all of the existing benefits of portability. To this end, Intel is working on three separate initiatives that will lower power consumption, raise basic clock speeds, and provide an all-in-one integrated processor for basic mobile computers.
The "Geyserville" initiative aims to prolong battery life. With laptop processors running faster and LCD screens getting bigger and bigger, battery power is being stretched further than ever. Geyserville enables laptops to operate in three states: battery-powered, AC-powered, and AC-powered/docked. Since power consumption varies between each of these conditions, the system will automatically change voltage to accommodate the change. An Advanced Configuration Power Interface (ACPI) BIOS, already found in most new laptops, is required for this to work. Intel expects to deliver on Geyserville by this time next year, and has voltage reduction strategies, such as advanced cooling technologies and heat pipe plates, in the works as well.
Intel's "Colfax" initiative will integrate the upcoming 440BX motherboard with RDRAM support, Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) 2 (also known as 2x AGP), 1394 support, and a 100 MHz system bus. Colfax systems will ship about a year after the first 100 MHz system bus-capable desktop units, which are due in April. Essentially, Colfax is a low-power motherboard that hardware manufacturers can buy, so they don't need to design their own.
Also due this year from Intel are sub-4 watt Pentium 200 and 233 MHz microprocessors which will be used in basic mobile computers. Then, in early 1999, the company will release a version of the Pentium II with only 256K of cache (the current version has 500K) that will enable Pentium II use in the thinnest of notebooks. Intel is also planning a 333 MHz mobile Pentium II that will accompany the 233 and 266 MHz chips shipping in mid-April