That doesn't mean users clamouring for a faster Pentium processor will have to wait six months, however. Intel has said it expects to launch its new Pentium 4 processor before the end of the year, which is expected to debut at 1.4GHz.
Intel withdrew its fastest Pentium III from circulation in late August after learning that systems running the CPU can freeze under certain conditions. An Intel spokesman at the time said the company hoped to relaunch the chip by as early as this month. The decision to postpone the relaunch until next year is based on two factors, Intel spokesman George Alfs said. First, Intel wants to be sure it can deliver the chip in sufficient quantities to meet demand. Secondly, Intel is preparing a version of the chip in a different packaging that will make it easier for PC makers to incorporate in their systems, Alfs said.
The pending release of the Pentium 4 played a part in Intel's decision not to relaunch the 1.13GHz Pentium III until next year, Alfs said. However, he denied a suggestion that Intel accelerated the delivery of its Pentium 4 to compensate for the fact that the faster Pentium III part won't be available until next year.
But one source inside Intel said there is now a "renewed emphasis on execution" with the Pentium 4, and said the processor could debut as early as next month.