Unannounced 2.4GHz Pentium 4 appears in Tokyo

A new Pentium 4 processor running at 2.4GHz, as yet unannounced by maker Intel, has appeared in the component shops of Tokyo's Akihabara district.

Sato Musen began selling the chips over the weekend but has already sold out of its initial supply, a salesman at the shop said. The shop received a single tray of the chips from an undisclosed source and does not know when further chips will be available, the salesman said. However, he said Intel is expected to officially launch the chip in early April.

Intel last introduced new chips in the Pentium 4 line on January 7 this year when it announced the 2.2GHz version of the chip. That announcement signaled a move to more advanced 0.13-micron architecture for the product line, something which enabled Intel to double the amount of onboard cache memory to 512K bytes. At the same time, a 0.13-micron version of the existing 2GHz Pentium 4 was also introduced.

According to the company's most current price list, the 2.2GHz chip is priced at US$562 in quantities of 1,000, which is a standard measurement for processor prices. The 2GHz version that was introduced in January costs $364. Both prices have remained unchanged since the chips were introduced although are likely to be reduced when the 2.4GHz is introduced.

In Akihabara, the 2.4GHz chips were selling for around ¥77,000 (US$579).

An Intel Japan KK spokesman declined to offer any details of the new chip.

"It is not an officially announced product," said Hiasashi Nagai. "We cannot give you the exact (launch) date but we plan to release it shortly."

"When Intel announces the products officially, many PC makers also announce their PCs at the same time so we actually start shipping to the industry well in advance," he said. "So sometimes we see some products get to the market before the launch date."

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