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Vendors line up for 200-MHz Pentium

Vendors lined up to support the 200-MHz Pentium, the fastest yet.

Intel today announced the fastest Pentium yet, a 200-MHz microprocessor that will replace the 166-MHz Pentium as the new speed king for the desktop.

Even as the new chip is being announced, however, Intel has plans for yet another version sporting built-in multimedia processing capabilities that is to be announced in the fall. Known internally as the Pentium+, this processor will support Intel's new MMX multimedia technology to allow the main processor to process audio, video, and graphics. That technology is designed to allow users to do low-end multimedia processing without having to buy specialized add-in cards, thus letting PC manufacturers cut the cost of entry-level multimedia computers.

Although the announcement of the Pentium+ is expected to inspire a lot more excitement, a long procession of PC manufacturers nevertheless lined up to announce support today for the 200-MHz chip, all hoping to attract new customers interested in speed for speed's sake:
--AST Research announced a new line of Advantage 829 multimedia PCs for the consumer market. With a 2GB hard disk drive, 16MB of RAM, 3-D sound and 8x CD-ROM drive with a base price of $2,799, an Advantage minitower is available now priced at $2,299.
--Advanced Logic Research will incorporate the 200-Mhz Pentium into its ALR Evolution 5 series in both desktop and minitower models, in late summer. Prices for the new models will start at $2,695. Delivery of the new, faster models will be accompanied by price cuts of up to 22 percent on the existing ALR Evolution Dual6, which uses 150 and 200-MHz versions of Intel's Pentium Pro chips.
--IBM will release a new line of Aptiva PCs using the new chip this month. Pricing will start at $1,799, but certain models will be available in configurations with a 3.2GB hard disk drive, a 8X CD-ROM drive, and 32MB of RAM starting at $1,799.
--Hewlett-Packard said it will incorporate the new Pentium into the recently announced Vectra VL and XM series and into the upcoming Pavilion multimedia PCs, slated to be announced later this summer.
--NEC will use the 200-MHz chip in the second half of 1996 in three PCs--the PowerMate line for business users, the PowerPlayer line optimized for game-players, and the Ready multimedia PC line for home consumers.

Intel is hitting the 200-MHz barrier almost simultaneously with Motorola, which announced last week early availability of its 200-MHz PowerPC 603e chip. That chip should show up later this year in systems from Apple, Umax, and Power Computing. Intel-rival Cyrix has also recently announced a 200-MHz microprocessor design, the 6x86-P200+, that it says will run just as fast as the new Pentium, if not faster.

But Intel still has more plans for future development of its Pentium architecture, aiming the chip at the home market while it encourages corporate users to invest in the Pentium Pro architecture. It plans to follow the Pentium+ with a low-cost Pentium Pro design for the consumer market, dubbed the P6 Lite. That chip will come with the multimedia enhancements of the Pentium+ and run at speeds up to 233 MHz.

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