One of the greatest things about PCs is the way system prices drop as speed increases and the company most responsible for this trend, Intel Corp., is doing everything it can to see it continue.
Intel is planning sweeping changes to its Celeron line for 1999, including faster CPU speeds and the addition of a 100 MHz bus. In February, Intel will debut the 366 MHz Celeron, which will feature 128K L2 cache like its 300 and 333 MHz brothers. After that, all future versions of the Celeron, including a 400 MHz version due by mid-year, will feature a 100 MHz bus. Current Celerons use a 66 MHz bus, while high-end Pentium II chips use the 100 MHz version. Intel expects Celeron-based PCs to sell for $800 in early 1999, while computers in the $1200 range will feature technology based on the company's new Wired For Management (WFM) 2.0 initiative. WFM specifies management and connectivity features.
For mid-range PCs based on the Pentium II processor, Intel will release its 450 and 500 MHz "Katmai"-based processors in March. The Katmai is a Pentium II with the new MMX-2 instruction set; this gives programmers over 70 new integrated 3D programming instructions to play with. A companion chipset for the Katmai processor will feature 4X AGP, Digital Link audio, and a new faster kind of RAM. Katmai-based systems will utilize a 133 MHz bus by mid-1999 and sell for $2000-3000.
At the high-end, Intel's Pentium II Xeon will be bumped up with the 500 MHz "Tanner" chip, which will feature 512 KB, 1 MB or 2MB of L2 cache, depending on the configuration. Eight-way Tanner systems will be available from major manufacturers such as Dell, Compaq, and IBM