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Intel unleashes 2GHz Pentium 4

The top-of-the-line chip ushers in a new wave of Pentium 4-based PCs, as Compaq, Dell, Gateway, HP and others are expected to offer it in high-performance desktops.

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  Intel breaks 2GHz barrier
Louis Burns, VP, Intel Architecture Group
Welcome to the 2GHz PC era: Intel on Monday officially announced the speedy Pentium 4 chip.

The top-of-the-line chip is expected to usher in a new wave of Pentium 4-based PCs, as computer makers offer it in high-performance desktops. Compaq Computer, Dell Computer, Gateway and Hewlett-Packard are expected to announce support for the chip.

Systems priced from $1,499 and up will be available from these and other PC makers, starting as soon as this week.

Dell, for example, will offer prices starting around $1,800 for its 2GHz Dimension 8100 PC. A heftier PC with the 2GHz Pentium 4, 128MB of RDRAM, a 100GB hard drive, a CD-RW drive and a 19-inch monitor will sell for about $2,208.

Meanwhile, Compaq announced a Presario 7000T system starting around $1,600. For $1,727, consumers can get a 7000T with 128MB of RAM, a 40GB hard drive, a CD-RW drive and a 17-inch monitor.

At the same time, Intel is reducing prices of existing Pentium 4 chips, which should bring about Pentium 4 PCs priced as low as about $900 by the end of the year. The new 2GHz chip lists for $562, which is what its existing 1.8GHz sibling had been selling for.

"Where the prices are the same, we expect our customers to quickly go to the higher speed. So we're obviously moving the market to higher speeds," said Intel spokesman George Alfs.

Intel also on Monday announced a 1.9GHz Pentium 4, aimed at the more budget-conscious. That chip is priced at $375.

After the introduction of the 1.9GHz and 2GHz Pentium 4s, Intel reduced the price of the 1.8GHz chips by 54 percent from $562 to $256. Intel also cut the 1.7GHz and 1.6GHz Pentium 4 chips by 45 percent each from $352 to $193 and from $294 to $163, respectively.

Meanwhile, the chipmaker dropped the prices on its 1.5GHz, 1.4GHz and 1.3GHz Pentium 4 chips to $133 each. The move aims to encourage PC makers to adopt the faster chips, the company said. The price drop on the 1.5GHz chips, for example, represents a 48 percent cut.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chipmaker this week is hosting its fall Intel Developer Conference. The company uses the twice-yearly confab to update its partners on new technologies and new initiatives.

Along with the 2GHz announcement, Intel will preview other technologies such as "Banias," the code name for a new mobile processor it aims to introduce in 2003.

Intel also cut prices on its Xeon and certain 0.13-micron desktop Pentium III and Celeron chips.

The chipmaker dropped the price of its 900MHz and 850MHz desktop Celerons, for example, from $89 and $74, respectively, to $64 each, a reduction of as much as 28 percent.

The move aims to encourage the adoption of Intel's new 0.13-micron Pentium III chips and at the same time makes room for faster Celerons. Celeron chips running at 1GHz and 1.1GHz are expected from the chipmaker this quarter.