Evergreen Technologies plans to release a PCI-card-based product that will let PC users upgrade their desktop PCs to Intel's latest Celeron processor models.
The company will make the upgrade cards available this month with a starting price of about $US350. In addition to offering 333MHz and 400MHz versions of the Celeron, Evergreen will offer the K6-2 processor from California-based Advanced Micro Devices.
Initial benchmarks provided by Evergreen indicate that an upgraded PC will have about 95 per cent of the performance of a new, similarly configured PC.
If that holds in real-world use, the PCI-based upgrade will deliver more speed than most upgrades provide. Company officials said the upgrade achieves that speed by being coupled with a 100MHz bus on the PCI card, rather than using the 66MHz bus on older PCs.
However, the card must still communicate with the rest of the system over the PCI bus at its 33MHz speed. That communication could slow down overall performance, although Evergreen officials said they have figured out how to avoid that.
Using the PCI slot is a new approach to upgrades. Most upgrades today require replacing the existing processor or replacing the motherboard and often replacing Windows drivers, which "is a very expensive proposition", according to Kevin Knox, an analyst at Gartner Group.
The card could be a worthwhile investment for some companies if it proves easy to install and actually lives up to the performance gains that users expect, he said.