Intel plans to introduce a new chipset that will allow its Pentium 4 processors to be used with synchronous dynamic random access memory (SDRAM) by the end of this month.
The chipmaker hopes the 845 chipset, which supports PC 133 memory technology, will bring the P4 into the business market - which is still dominated by the Pentium III architecture. Until now, the P4 architecture has been available for use only with the pricier Rambus memory. Intel has also dropped the prices on its 1.3, 1.4 and 1.5 GHz processors, to make room for its 2GHz offering launched last week.
"We have been working hard to bring the high end [technology] into volume for a while," said Intel Australia managing director David Bolt.
Bolt also detailed plans for a DDR chipset, which is currently slated for release in the first quarter next year.
"We want the Pentium 4 to be cheaper," he said. "And at this stage the lowest cost memory on the market is PC 133."
Although Intel has yet to announce the end of the Pentium III life cycle, the company is keen to move the Pentium 4, previously marketed at the enthusiast consumer market, into the business arena.
"Most companies that support business are selling Pentium IIIs," Bolt said. "Now they can configure the new platform to business so rather than buy at the end of an architecture cycle, companies can increase the cycle at similar price points.
Lowering the price point will provide that incentive.
"The value proposition for Pentium III doesn't hold up anymore, and I think that change will filter through to the business market. We need the channel to help us do that."
The 845 chipset will not formally be announced to the market until supporting motherboards are available. In the meantime, the Pentium 4 will still be used at the higher end of the market.
"The 850 [chipset] is not going to go away. There is still a segment of the market that wants performance over price."
Intel will heavily rely on the resellers to help popularise the Pentium 4 architecture in the business arena and Bolt conceeds that although the size of multinational companies give them a distinct buying advantage, the channel has its own advantages not enjoyed by the vendors.
"The channel has the time to market advantage," he said. "The technology is available today, but some of the bigger players have to go through their own product cycles. Secondly, resellers understand their own customers' needs more specifically. In business, there are all sorts of issues that are more important than just frequency and megahertz."