Pentium 4 aimed at web firms

Web designers are the prime market for PCs based on Intel's Pentium 4 processor, released in Auckland last week

Web designers are the prime market for PCs based on Intel's Pentium 4 processor, released in Auckland last week.

Intel is describing the new processor family as the most significant architecture advance since the release of the 80386 about a dozen years ago.

But that's not how Auckland 3D graphics software developer Mark Thomas, of Right Hemisphere, sees it. "It's really just a step up from the Pentium III," says Thomas, who has been using a pre-release Pentium 4.

"We haven't been paying much attention to the Pentium 4," says Thomas, who is more excited about the impending release of the 64-bit Itanium. Right Hemisphere has been running an alpha release Itanium with a beta of Microsoft's 64-bit Windows for months.

But Intel touts significant performance gains from the Pentium 4, which is available in 1.4GHz and 1.5GHz versions. Aside from the faster clock speeds, the processor boasts a three-times faster (400MHz) system bus than the PIII. According to Australia and New Zealand business development manager Keith Holtham, the Pentium 4 will run Java code 30% faster than a 1GHz PIII and XML code 25% faster.

The first systems based on the processor are already available. Gateway and Compaq machines were on display at the processor launch, and Dell has also released Pentium 4-based models, starting at about $5200 (including GST).

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