December 27, 2000, 8:01 AM — Now let's see. It's a day of the week ending in "y," so it must be time for Intel Corp. to release some faster chips.
The giant chip maker yesterday released a 600-MHz version of its Pentium III processor, designed for high-performance desktops and workstations. Intel also increased the speed of its fastest Celeron processor, aimed at the budget PC market, to 500 MHz.
Intel and its only significant rival, Advanced Micro Devices Inc., have been releasing faster processors more or less in step with each other in recent months. AMD's 600-MHz Athlon processor, announced in June, is expected to hit the streets later this month.
Intel said the 600-MHz chip will most benefit consumers who play PC games and download multimedia and 3-D content from the Internet. Its pitch to business customers is better performance from data visualization, streaming video, speech recognition and other processor-intensive applications.
The 600-MHz Pentium III comes with 512K bytes of performance-boosting Level 2 cache memory and is priced at $669. The 500-MHz Celeron chip is priced at $167. Both prices are for 1,000-unit quantities. Intel's fastest Pentium III until yesterday ran at 550 MHz, its fastest Celeron at 466 MHz.
The following is a selection of the systems announced yesterday that use Intel's new chips:
For consumers, Hewlett-Packard Co. is offering the 600-MHz Pentium III in its Pavilion 8590C PC, priced at $2,299. The system includes 128M bytes of synchronous dynamic RAM and a six-speed DVD-ROM drive. HP will offer the 500-MHz Celeron in the Pavilion 8560C, priced at $1,099 with 96M bytes of SDRAM, a 12.7G-byte hard drive, a 56K bit/sec. fax/data modem and Polk Audio stereo speakers, HP said.
For corporate users, HP is offering the 600-MHz Pentium III in the Vectra VLi8. The system includes 64M bytes of SDRAM, a 13.5G-byte hard drive, a Matrox G200 graphics card and Windows NT. Pricing for the system hasn't been set, HP said. Also aimed at the business market, the Vectra VEi7 desktop with the 500-MHz Celeron chip is priced at $899. The system includes 32M bytes of SDRAM, a 4.3G-byte hard drive, a CD-ROM drive, a sound card and Windows 95.
HP also announced the Kayak XU PC Workstation with a 600-MHz Pentium III, priced at $3,509. The workstation includes 128M bytes of SDRAM, a 9.1G-byte SCSI hard drive and Windows NT 4.0, and it can sport a second processor. HP also announced a 600-MHz addition to its Visualize workstation family, starting at $3,300, and said it has cut prices by up to 13% off the rest of the Visualize family.