New Pentium 4 available from several PC vendors

Intel Corp.'s new 3.06GHz Pentium 4 processor is available in a variety of PCs designed for high-performance users in both the consumer and business markets, according to announcements Thursday from a number of vendors.

Intel's new processor is its first with hyperthreading for desktop machines. Hyperthreading allows the chip to more efficiently execute multiple software threads found in newer products such as Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP or the latest version of Word. Additionally, users who are running multiple applications at the same time, such as a virus scanning program and a game, will see a 30 percent increase in performance, according to Intel.

Dell Computer Corp. announced the Dimension 8250 for consumers, the Precision 350 workstation, and the OptiPlex GX260 and SX260 for business users will carry the new chip as an option for users buying through Dell's build-to-order system.

The new technology does not come cheaply. A Dimension 8250, with the new Pentium 4, 512M bytes of RDRAM (Rambus dynamic RAM), a 200G-byte hard drive, a Radeon 9700 Pro graphics card from ATI Technologies Inc., a DVD+RW drive, and an 18-inch flat-panel display will cost US$2,999 at Dell's Web site.

The Precision 350 workstation will feature the new Pentium 4, 512M bytes of RDRAM, an 80G-byte hard drive, the Fire GL E1 graphics card from ATI, a CD-RW drive, and an 18-inch flat panel display for a price of US$3,599. The workstation also comes with a three-year warranty, as opposed to the one-year warranty for the consumer machine. Dell's business users can also chose from either OptiPlex model, with a sample configuration of the SX260 with the new Pentium 4, 256M bytes of DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM), a 20G-byte hard drive, a CD-ROM drive, and a 15-inch flat-panel display priced at US$1,854.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) will offer the new chip in its configurable Pavilion 793. A sample configuration of a low-end system comes with 128M bytes of DDR SDRAM, a 40G-byte hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive for US$1,259, while the midrange system adds a combo DVD/CD-RW drive, a GeForce 4 MX card from NVidia Corp., as well as additional memory and a bigger hard drive for US$1,699. High-end users can opt for a sample configuration with 512M bytes of DDR SDRAM, a 120G-byte hard drive, a GeForce 4 Ti graphics card, and a DVD+RW/+R drive for US$2,099. All prices include a $150 rebate. The systems will not come with a monitor.

HP plans to make the chip available in its Compaq Evo D310 line of corporate desktops and workstations within the next few days, an HP representative said.

MicronPC LLC released a system with the new Pentium 4 processor, but also released a PC powered by Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) Thursday. MicronPC's Millennia 910i will come with the Pentium 4, 256M bytes of DDR-333 SDRAM, a 40G-byte hard drive, a CD-RW drive, and a 15-inch flat-panel display for US$1,999. The AMD version, the 910a, sells for the same price with AMD's Athlon XP 2800+, 512M bytes of DDR-333 SDRAM, a 80G-byte hard drive, a CD-RW drive, and the 15-inch flat panel display.

The 910a is one of the first systems to feature the Athlon XP 2800+, which AMD said would be available in late November through a limited number of retailers when it launched the chip on Oct. 1.

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