Intel stakes out new ground: New chip will be fastest in industry
The Ottawa Citizen
Sat, May 03 1997
Intel Corp. will unveil its fastest chips yet Wednesday, aiming to overtake
competitors that have introduced their own speedy processors.
Intel's Pentium II -- which is a souped-up version of its current Pentium
Pro -- will contain the company's MMX multimedia technology and
run at speeds from 233 megahertz to 300 megahertz. The Pentium Pro
currently runs as fast as 200 MHz.
``It will be the fastest chip around for PC software,'' said analyst Nathan
Brookwood of Dataquest. ``Intel needs to have the stake in the
ground that says `If you want the fastest chips, we have them.' ''
Advanced Micro Devices Inc. introduced its K6 chip last month. That chip is
faster than some current Intel products, so it is important that
Intel get in the lead again, analysts said. Apple Computer Inc. also sells
300 MHz machines.
The Pentium II initially will be targeted at business users because it will
be expensive, Intel said. By the end of the year there will be computer
systems for sale in retail stores for about $2,500 U.S..
Analysts expect the chip to sell for $600 to $2,000. A 233 MHz chip will be
about $600, the 266 MHz will be less than $800 and the 300
MHz will be nearly $2,000, Brookwood said.
Brookwood expects Intel to ship 15 million to 20 million Pentium IIs this
year, compared with 50 million Pentiums.
Intel cut prices on its older chips earlier this week by as much as 48
percent, but left prices on the Pentium Pro chips unchanged. The Pentium
Pros will continue to be used in high-end computer servers because they can
be strung together and used in tandem, which Pentium II can't
Intel is likely to keep prices on the Pentium II high because it of costs.
``They are going to be expensive for quite awhile,'' said Michael Murphy,
publisher of California Technology Stock Letter and manager of a
The Pentium II brings together several new technologies that Intel has been
pushing, including the MMX enhancement, which improves and
sound and video quality displayed by PCs.
The new chip also will come in a new package that is a plastic-encased
cartridge that is inserted into a slot, instead of the flat, square package
with pins sticking out of the bottom that has been used for many years.
The cartridge design is used to take advantage of a new structure for the
way the chip talks with the cache memory and other parts of the
computer. With the new ``dual independent bus'' architecture, the speed of
the processor isn't slowed down by a bottleneck in how it talks
with memory and other parts of the computer.
While this new cartridge means that a Pentium or Pentium Pro can't be
easily replaced by a Pentium II because of the different form, Intel said
it was necessary to make sure that advances in performance and speed could
continue. Some analysts and industry watchers have said the new
cartridge makes it more difficult for AMD because manufacturers will have
to decide between the two.
``We didn't go down the path AMD did because we knew we had to provide
higher system performance,'' said Richard Dracott, marketing
manager for the Pentium Pro family of computers at Intel.
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