Intel launches faster Pentium 4 chips

In a widely anticipated move, Intel on Monday added four new chips to its line of Pentium 4 desktop processors, including the fastest model released by the company to date, the 2.8GHz Pentium 4. At the same time, the company slashed the price of its previously fastest chip, the 2.53GHz Pentium 4, by 62 percent.

The new additions to Intel's flagship processor lineup announced today includes the 2.8GHz Pentium 4, alongside 2.66GHz, 2.6GHz and 2.5GHz models.

The 2.8GHz Pentium 4 costs US$508 in quantities of 1,000, a standard pricing measure for chips, Intel said. The 2.66GHz and 2.6GHz models are both priced at $401 with the 2.5GHz chip priced at $243. The 2.8GHz Pentium 4 and the 2.66GHz Pentium 4 both employ a 533MHz front-side bus while the front-side bus used with the 2.6GHz and 2.5GHz chips runs at 400MHz. All four chips are manufactured using a 0.13-micron process.

The 533MHz front-side bus increases the bandwidth between the processor and the chipset in a PC, allowing more data to be moved back and forth and increasing performance.

Prior to the official announcement of its release, the all four new Pentium 4 processors appeared for sale in Tokyo's Akhihabara district over the weekend, with the 2.8GHz chip priced between ¥63,000 and ¥68,000 (US$525 and $567) with the 2.66GHz model at ¥50,000, the 2.6GHz model at ¥50,000 and the 2.5GHz model at ¥30,000. With the introduction of the latest Pentium 4 chips, Intel cut the price on its previously fastest model, the 2.53GHz Pentium 4, by 62 percent to $243. That makes the 2.53GHz chip cheaper than the 2.4GHz model, which remains priced at $400, and makes the chip comparable in cost to the 2.26GHz and 2.2GHz models, which are both priced at $241.

Intel's announcement comes on the heels of new chips introduced last week by rival processor maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Last Wednesday, the company took the wraps off its Athlon XP 2400+ and Athlon XP 2600+ processors, which run at speeds of 2GHz and 2.133GHz, respectively.

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