Intel ships 2.4GHz Pentium 4

Chip mammoth Intel Corp. on Tuesday sent to market the fastest Pentium 4 processor to date, a 2.4GHz chip, according to company representatives.

A product of Intel's recently implemented 300mm wafer chip fabrication process, the new Pentium 4 is built to a 0.13-micron architecture and packs approximately 55 million transistors, according to Intel, in Santa Clara, Calif.

The chip should begin appearing in desktop PC products from computer makers such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Gateway very shortly. PC vendors typically follow Intel's product road map with product releases of their own.

The 2.4GHz Pentium 4 will also up the competition between Intel and chip rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Recently, AMD released a 1.73GHz Athlon XP 2100+ chip that directly competes with Intel for PC OEM market share.

Any bet by Intel that an expected three-year corporate PC refresh cycle set in motion following Y2K upgrades will bring increased orders for Pentium 4 chips may not be so sound, according to Ashok Kumar, an industry analyst at U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray.

"Our view increasingly is that the three-year PC upgrade cycle is more of vendor-induced hype than one based on reality," said Kumar in a recent report.

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