Intel cuts prices on Pentium IIIs, Celerons

Intel Corp. slashed prices on some of its chips over the weekend, with the five fastest Pentium III mobile processors getting the largest cuts.

The two fastest Pentium III mobile processors -- the 1GHz and 900MHz models -- had prices slashed by 37 percent to US$401 and $268 respectively, according to information on the company's Web site. The 850MHz version dropped 31 percent to $241, while the 800MHz model dropped 26 percent to $198. Finally, the 750MHz processor was reduced 18 percent, bringing it to $198 as well. All prices are for processors sold in 1,000-unit batches.

The two fastest Pentium III mobile processors were introduced in mid-March of this year for both consumer and enterprise notebooks. Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., Gateway Inc. and NEC Corp. are among the companies offering notebooks based on the processor.

Four Pentium III mobile processors -- the 800MHz, 750MHz, 700MHz and its 600MHz low-voltage models -- now cost the same: $198.

Most likely the Pentium price cuts are to prepare for the rollout of Intel's new smaller and faster Pentium III processors, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst with Insight 64 in Saratoga, California. Intel is expected to launch two new Pentium III mobile processors at the end of this month at speeds of 1.13GHz and 1.06GHz, so it needs to make room at the top of its pricing structure for the new chips. The chips will be smaller because they will be made with Intel's new 0.13 micron manufacturing process.

"The current high-end is the 1GHz mobile, selling for $637 (before Sunday's price cuts)," Brookwood said. "When the (new) Pentium III mobile comes out, Intel has indicated that it will be 1.13GHz. That will take the high end of the line, which is $637."

Intel also dropped the price of all its entire desktop Celeron family, aimed at the entry-level PC market. The 900MHz, 850MHz, and 800MHz Celeron offerings were each reduced by 14 percent to $89, $74 and $64 respectively, with the 766MHz Celeron dropping 7 percent, also to $64.

The company also dropped the price of its 933MHz desktop Pentium III offering 11 percent to $163, the same price as both the 866MHz and 800MHz offering in that family of chips.

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Douglas F. Gray

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