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With increasingly power-hungry Pentium 4 processors gaining market share, it was just a matter of time for low-power Pentium M chips to find themselves in desktop computers for those, who are not satisfied with mainstream Intel’s chips.

Hitachi this week announced a series of desktops with Intel Pentium M and Intel Celeron M processors inside. Both chips were originally developed for notebooks and feature plethora of power-saving capabilities. Operating at clock-speeds from 1.00GHz to 1.70GHz, the processors offer performance comparable with mainstream Intel Pentium 4 chips that require more powerful fans and consume more energy.

Hitachi’s HF-W2000 and HF-W6500 slim PCs available initially only in Japan will not only feature rather unusual microprocessors for desktops, but will also offer ISA-slots for totally outdated add-in cards. Performance of the Hitachi’s innovative personal computers is not expected to be really high, as they feature Intel’s integrated graphics and single-channel DDR SDRAM memory-supporting core-logic. Such PCs are typically used in office, where low heat dissipation of Pentium M and Celeron M may play an important role.

Small form-factor desktops based on Intel Pentium M processor is not a new idea. Back in 2003 a mainboard maker released a mini-ITX mainboard for desktops with Socket 479 for Intel’s mobile processors found in all Centrino notebooks. Hitachi’s announcement indicates growing popularity of Pentium M in its “non-native” applications.

Surging power consumption and problems it causes put Intel Pentium 4 in pretty difficult position when it comes to quiet desktops. Even though it is possible to move Pentium M chips into desktop PCs, some users still require more computing power than they can provide. Intel is reportedly reconsidering its strategy for such CPUs with the actual results scheduled to see the light of the day in 2006.

According to currently available information, mobile processor code-named Merom, featuring a completely redone micro-architecture, with relatively low power consumption and exceptionally high performance per clock, about 20% - 30% higher than that of predecessors, will beget a chip for desktops. Intel’s microprocessor code-named Conroe is expected to remove certain power constraints and probably widen thermal envelope of the Merom. Additional performance tweaks are also possible to bring extra speed, but the conception of a chip will still remain – a low-power highly efficient central processing unit.

Pricing of Hitachi’s HF-W2000 and HF-W6500 slim PCs was not announced.


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