It's chip season again

It's chip season again

Now let's see. It's a day of the week ending in "y", so it must be time for Intel to release some faster chips.

The giant chip maker last week released a 600MHz 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 500MHz.

Intel and its only significant rival, Advanced Micro Devices, have been releasing faster processors more or less in step with each other in recent months. AMD's 600MHz Athlon processor, announced in June, is expected to hit the streets later this month.

Intel said the 600MHz chip will most benefit consumers who play PC games and download multimedia and 3D content from the Internet. Its pitch to business customers is better performance from data visualisation, streaming video, speech recognition and other processor-intensive applications.

The 600MHz Pentium III comes with 512KB of performance boosting Level 2 cache memory, and is priced at $US669. The 500MHz Celeron chip is priced at $167. Both prices are for 1000-unit quantities. Intel's fastest Pentium III hitherto ran at 550MHz; its fastest Celeron at 466MHz.

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