Intel has rolled out a faster processor for sub-$US1000 PCs, saying it will be the first of several versions of the chip targeted at the low-end processor market in the coming months.
Intel released a Celeron processor running at 533MHz and priced at $167 each for orders of 1000 units, Pat Gelsinger, vice president of Intel's desktop product group, said.
"With this release, we are trying to signal to the industry our continued aggressiveness in the value space," Gelsinger said.
Intel plans to release Celerons using the advanced 0.18-micron manufacturing process in the first half of this year, he said. The company has said it anticipates releasing Celerons with at least a 633MHz clock speed by the end of the year.
Celerons are presently available at 500MHz, 466MHz, 433MHz and 400MHz speeds.
Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices last month released its own low-end processor running at 533MHz, called the K6-2.
One industry analyst said the increased speed of Celerons now allows customers to purchase low-cost PCs with the assurance they are getting a good share of the features of high-end PCs that use Intel's Pentium III line.
"People committed to high performance can go one way (with Pentium IIIs), while those interested in value can go with the Celerons," said Nathan Brookwood, an analyst with Insight 64.