500 computer models from Taiwan to use Intel chips

Top designs, fast speeds expected as 20 local firms adopt Sandy Bridge

About 500 computer models made in Taiwan will use Intel’s just-released second-generation Core processors and add features that would make those desktops and laptops some of the world’s best, local Intel officials said on Tuesday.

More than 20 Taiwanese firms are equipping their products with "Sandy Bridge" Intel Core microprocessors to raise speed and sharpen graphics, said Ken Lau, Asia-Pacific managing director of Intel's advanced technical sales. Some, he said, will raise performance with USB 3.0 or mobile wireless display technology.

The 500 Taiwanese PC models make up a majority of those set to be produced worldwide with the new Intel chipsets, he said. Acer and Asustek are among the Taiwan firms on board.

Taiwan's legacy as an island packed with experienced high-tech firms used to doing business together will raise quality and get the computers to market sooner than in other countries, Lau said in an interview.

"The proximity of suppliers to manufacturers is very close," he said. "For example USB 3.0, you get a guy in your office in half a day to talk about their product."

"Overall, the quality of the systems they build (in Taiwan) is better," he said. "In terms of critical mass of companies aggregated in one area, Taiwan is probably the most dense. It's not just PCs. It's goes from all the critical components, the WiFi, the LAN."

Bugs involving the new processors that were officially launched on Jan. 5 are inevitable, Lau said, but so far none have stopped installation.

Consumer prices for the computers using the new chipsets should not exceed those with the previous generation of Intel processors, said Judy Chen, a company product marketing manager in Taiwan.

Some computers are already on the market as their Taiwanese manufacturers worry that competitors will beat them, Lau said. Taiwan's Micro-Star International was among the first to show Intel Core-equipped devices at CES in Las Vegas earlier this month.

"Things happen a lot faster in this part of the world," Lau said. "We have one goal in mind, just launch products. They just want to be getting the product out the door."

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