Intel has increased the clock speed of its top processor for low-cost PCs with the introduction of a 2.0GHz Celeron chip.
All major hardware vendors use Celeron processors in low-cost PCs, which are generally understood to be those costing under $US1,000. These Celeron chips offer less performance than Intel's top-of-the-line Pentium 4 chips, but cost far less. The 2.0GHz Celeron will cost $US103 in 1,000-unit quantities, while the slowest Pentium 4 still sold by Intel, at 2.2GHz, costs $US193 in 1,000-unit quantities.
But the performance gap between the fastest Celeron and the slowest Pentium 4 is relatively small, said Peter Glaskowsky, editor in chief of the Microprocessor Report. End users have to decide whether the Pentium 4's extra performance is worth the several hundred extra dollars that a Pentium 4 chip adds to the retail price of a PC, he said.
Intel will manufacture the new Celeron processor on its .13-micron process, which saves money for Intel since it is based on the same core as the Pentium 4, Glaskowsky said. The next-fastest Celeron chip, at 1.8GHz, is made on Intel's .18-micron process.
Part of the L2 cache from the Pentium 4 core is disabled to reduce the performance of the Celerons, so Intel doesn't have to design a whole separate core for its value processors, he said.
Intel has continued to focus on the market for low-cost PCs, while rival Advanced Micro Devices has gone the opposite route, announcing earlier this year it will phase out its low-cost Duron processors by 2003.
"To users who are buying low-end PCs, the performance difference between high-end Celerons and high-end Durons will not be significant," Glaskowsky said.