Tech Industry

Intel revs its engines with plans for 1.13-GHz Pentium III

Intel's speed derby with AMD will hit another level next month with the release of what is expected to be one of the last versions of the Pentium III.

Megahertz madness continues next month when Intel releases a 1.13-GHz Pentium III on July 31.

The new chip, likely one of the last versions of the Pentium III for desktop systems, will mark yet another milestone in the escalating performance war between Intel and rival Advanced Micro Devices.

Since last August, when AMD released its Athlon processor, the two companies have competed for the right to the chip speed crown. That trophy has changed hands a number of times.

In terms of overall computer performance, the lead also has changed several times, though the race is tight. Published, independent benchmarks reveal that the performance difference between competing chips measures 4 percent or less on many tests.

The race to be No. 1 has also indirectly created supply problems. One-GHz Pentium IIIs and Athlons remain in limited supply, as are chips in the 900-MHz range. Both companies released these chips in the beginning of March. Originally, both chips were due in June.

An Intel spokesman confirmed the release date for the 1.13-GHz chip and added that initially the chip would be in limited supplies. One-GHz Pentium III supplies will increase in the third quarter, he added.

Although the new Pentium III could end up the fastest desktop chip on the market, its spot on the throne will be precarious. As it has for nearly a year, AMD is likely to unveil a chip running at the same speed or faster.

Recently, the company introduced the "Thunderbird," a new version of Athlon with an integrated secondary cache.

The new Pentium III is likely to be one of the last versions of the chip. Paul Otellini, general manager of the Intel Architecture Group, said in April that the company would bump the speed on the Pentium III only a few more times.

In the future, Intel will concentrate on the Pentium 4, formerly code-named Willamette, which is expected to come out in the fourth quarter.