Vendors flock to Intel's new Pentium III, Celeron

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 yesterday released a 600MHz version of its Pentium III processor and increased the speed of its budget Celeron processor.

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 yesterday 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 3-D content from the Internet. Its pitch to business customers is better performance from data visualization, 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 US$669. The 500MHz Celeron chip is priced at $167. Both prices are for 1,000-unit quantities. Intel's fastest Pentium III until today ran at 550MHz; its fastest Celeron at 466MHz.

Following is a selection of the systems announced yesterday that use Intel's new chips:

For consumers, Hewlett-Packard Co. is offering the 600MHz Pentium III in its Pavilion 8590C PC, priced at $2,299. The system includes 128Mb of SDRAM and a six-speed DVD-ROM drive. HP will offer the 500MHz Celeron in the Pavilion 8560C, priced at $1,099 with 96Mb of SDRAM, a 12.7G-byte hard drive, a 56K-bit-per-second fax/data modem and Polk Audio stereo speakers, HP said.

For corporate users, HP is offering the 600MHz Pentium III in the Vectra VLi8. The system includes 64Mbof SDRAM, a 13.5G-byte hard drive, a Matrox G200 graphics card and Windows NT. Pricing for the system hasn't been set, HP said. Also aimed at the business market, the Vectra VEi7 desktop with the 500MHz Celeron chip is priced at $899. The system includes 32Mb of SDRAM, 4.3Gb hard drive, a CD-ROM drive, a sound card and Windows 95.

HP also announced a Kayak XU PC Workstation with a 600MHz Pentium III, priced at $3,509. The workstation includes 128M bytes of SDRAM, a 9.1G-byte SCSI hard drive and Windows NT 4.0, and can sport a second processor. HP also announced a 600MHz addition to its Visualize workstation family, starting at $3,300, and said it has cut prices by up to 13 percent off the rest of the Visualize family.

More information is available through the company's Web site, at http://www.hp.com/.

Micron Electronics Inc. is offering the 600MHz processor in its Millennia Max PC, priced at $1,844. The system includes 128M-bytes of SDRAM, a 13.6G-byte hard drive, a six-speed DVD drive, a Diamond Viper AGP graphics card, Windows 98 and Office 2000, and a 17-inch monitor. A Millennia featuring the 500MHz Celeron is also shipping today, starting at $998.

Micron is also offering a limited, one-year introductory subscription to Earthlink Sprint Internet access for $12.95 per month with any Micron PC, the company said.

For business customers Micron introduced a 600MHz ClientPro system starting at $1,999. A ClientPro with Intel's 500MHz Celeron chip is priced at $1,129.The ClientPros include 10/100 Ethernet cards from 3Com Corp. and run on Windows NT.

More information is at http://www.micronpc.com/.

Compaq Computer Corp. is offering the 500MHz Celeron processor in its 5700N Presario desktops for consumers, starting at $1,009. It launched the 600MHz Pentium III in its Presario 5700T series, priced starting from $1,649. Both series include a 15-inch monitor and can be configured with high-speed DSL modems and larger hard drives, Compaq said.

For U.S. retail customers Compaq also released today the Presario 5724, which includes a 500MHz Celeron processor and home phoneline networking capability for sharing Internet access, printers and files. That system starts at $1,099 excluding monitor.

For the business market, Compaq said the Deskpro EN, available in desktop, minitower and small form factor configurations, is shipping now with the Pentium III 600 MHz starting at $2,239, including monitor. The systems include up to 10G-byte hard drives, 32-speed CD-ROM drives on select models, and ATI Rage Pro Turbo 2X graphics cards. Compaq also announced immediate availability of new Deskpro EN and EP Series with Intel's Celeron 500MHz processor, starting at $1,129 with monitor.

Compaq's AP200 and AP400 series workstations, meanwhile, feature single and dual processor configurations with the Pentium III 600MHz, and are available immediately starting from $2,671, Compaq said.

All the Compaq systems announced today are available immediately, Compaq said. More information is at http://www.compaq.com/.

IBM Corp. announced availability today of its 600MHz 300PL desktops and minitowers, which are aimed at corporate users and start from $1,895 excluding monitor. The Pentium III systems include up to 128M bytes of SDRAM and hard disk drive sizes ranging from 6.4 G bytes to 20.4G bytes, or 4.2G byte Ultra ATA.

Also available today are IBM's IntelliStation E Pro and M Pro workstations, which sport the Pentium III 600MHz processor and are priced starting from $2,249 and $2,699, respectively. The E Pro comes standard with 128M bytes of ECC SDRAM. The M Pro can sport one or two processors, and comes with 128M bytes or 256M bytes of ECC SDRAM, with capacities of up to 1G byte.

More information about IBM's PCs is on the Web at http://www.pc.ibm.com/.

NEC Corp. launched the 600MHz Pentium III in a PowerMate ES 5200 desktop, priced starting at $1,599 and including a 4.3G byte hard drive, 32M bytes of RAM and a 10/100 Ethernet card. More information is at http://www.nec-computers.com/.

Silicon Graphics Inc. announced immediate availability of its 320 visual workstation with Intel's 600 MHz Pentium III processor in single- and dual-processor configurations. Prices start at $4,299 for a configuration including one processor, 128M bytes of RAM, a 6.4G-byte hard drive, Cobalt graphics chip set, keyboard and mouse, SGI said. More information on SGI's new machines is available at http://www.sgi.com/.

Intel, in Santa Clara, can be reached at +1-408-987-8080 or via the Internet at http://www.intel.com/.

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