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Peripherals

Intel unveils new Pentium 4 chips

Intel today launched a new line Pentium 4 processers, the 600 series, as well the latest chip in its high-performance Extreme Edition line.

Intel today launched four Pentium 4 processors into its new 600 series and a high-performance addition to the Extreme Edition family. The 600 series chips are set to take home and business users into the world of 64-bit desktop computing, while the Extreme Edition processor is aimed at gamers and early adopters who demand the highest performance.

The four new processors in the 6xx sequence (630, 640, 650 and 660) have clock speeds ranging from 3GHz to 3.6GHz, each with 2MB of L2 cache and Intel's SpeedStep Technology. They have double the amount of L2 cache found on the current series, offering improved desktop performance by providing a larger pool of memory for data transfer. SpeedStep, a technology first introduced on the company's Centrino platform, aims to reduce power consumption by dynamically adjusting processor voltage and frequency.

To demonstrate the capabilities of the new processor at the launch in Sydney's Westin hotel, Pinnacle Liquid Edition 6 software was used to edit video on a PC fitted with an Intel Pentium 4 processor 660 (3.6GHz). The demonstrator from Pinnacle Systems added multiple video streams to the project in real time and claimed that Liquid's background rendering takes full advantage of the new processors allowing professionals to edit video a lot quicker than ever before.

The chipmaker also released its latest high-end 3.73GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processor, which features a 1066MHz front side bus and also contains 2MB of L2 cache. The new addition to the Extreme Edition family is aimed squarely at gamers and early technology adopters. A technology omitted from the high-performance chip is SpeedStep. Philips Dows, Intel marketing manager for Australia and New Zealand, explains this is because the Extreme Edition target market doesn't want to compromise speed for the sake of energy efficiency.

All five new processors support 64-bit addressing, which enables Intel's processors to be compatible with 64-bit operating systems from Red Hat, SuSE as well as Microsoft Windows XP Professional x64, due to ship in the first half of 2005. Current 32-bit operating systems and software will also be supported.

Intel's Pentium 4 processor 600 series and the Intel Pentium 4 processor Extreme Edition 3.73GHz are available now. Pricing for the 600 series starts at US$224 for the 630 (3GHz) model and goes up to US$605 for the 660 (3.6GHz) chip. However, PCs carrying the Extreme Edition 7.73GHz processor will probably be the most expensive of the bunch, as the chip sells for US$999. Pricing is only quoted for 1,000-unit quantities.