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Intel's cheap Pentium II: Celeron

Intel announces its new brand name, Celeron, for a Pentium II processor designed for low-cost PCs.

Intel (INTC) announced today it will have a new brand name--Celeron--for a processor designed for low-cost PCs.

Low-cost personal computers, or what Intel calls "Basic PCs," are typically priced at or below the $1,000 level.

Intel's Celeron processor is based upon the P6 architecture, the same one that forms the foundation for its Pentium Pro and Pentium II processors.

"This is a very logical step in the evolution of our 'Intel Inside' branding strategy," said Dennis Carter, vice president of Intel corporate marketing in a prepared statement. "The purpose of having separate brands is to give users the ability to identify the computer with the processor that best suits their needs, from Performance PCs down to Basic PCs."

Intel is an investor in CNET: The Computer Network.

The Celeron processor product will be announced in April with systems available for purchase by midyear, Intel said today. In addition to the Celeron brand, the chipmaker will introduce a new branded processor later this year for enterprise servers and workstations, the company added.

Processors designed for computer enthusiasts and mainstream performance PC's will remain under the Pentium II brand name, according to Intel.

"We are aggressively moving Intel architecture into the entry level, which we call Basic Computing," CEO Andy Grove recently said at a conference.

Intel describes a Basic PC as falling in the $800 to $1,200 price range and providing "a base level of functionality with limited expandability to meet the core needs and affordability requirements common to many new home and business users."

Intel's previous strategy had been to design ever-more powerful processors aimed at the top end of the computer market, as previous-generation chips migrated to the lower-end market segment. But this has changed.

"Intel's new strategy is to use one core technology as a foundation for developing a range of processor products designed specifically to meet the needs of multiple segments," the statement said.