Intel's 2.8GHz Pentium 4 hits Tokyo

Intel's fastest desktop processor to date, the 2.8GHz version of its Pentium 4 chip, went on sale in Tokyo's Akihabara electronics district on Saturday. The chip is expected to be officially announced and launched by Intel this week.

The 2.8GHz chip wasn't the only new Intel processor to appear in Tokyo at the weekend. Two new chips in each of the Pentium 4's two ranges went on sale. Intel's Pentium 4 desktop processor family was divided in May, when the company moved to a more advanced manufacturing technology and increased the speed of the connection between the processor and chipset, the frontside bus, from 400MHz to 533MHz.

The new 2.8GHz chip runs at the higher speed and a second new Pentium 4 with a clock speed of 2.66GHz also went on sale. Until now, the fastest processor in this range was a 2.53GHz model. At the lower speed, new chips running at 2.6GHz and 2.5GHz appeared, beating the previous fastest 2.4GHz version.

The fastest of the new chips, the 2.8GHz version, went on sale at shops in Akihabara for between ¥63,000 and ¥68,000 (AUD$968 and $1045 respectively) with the 2.66GHz model at ¥50,000, the 2.6GHz model at ¥50,000 and the 2.5GHz model at ¥30,000.

Intel has been widely expected to launch the new Pentium 4 chips this week. Such a move is usually preceded by a price cut as Monday begins on the U.S. west coast.

Last week Intel's biggest rival in the desktop processor space, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), launched two new chips in its Athlon XP+ range. The chips have performance ratings of 2400+ and 2600+ and run at 2.0GHz and 2.133GHz respectively, according to an analyst.

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