Just two days after rival AMD introduced its 1 GHz Athlon microprocessor, Intel Corporation reclaimed the top speed spot with the release of its own 1 GHz chip. In addition to being faster than the AMD offering, Intel's 1 GHz Pentium III microprocessor is cheaper as well: PC makers will pay about $990 for the chip, compared to $1300 for the AMD. Dell Computer, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard announced the immediate availability of new systems based on the Pentium III 1 GHz.
Intel has historically released faster new designs and lowered prices on a quarterly basis, but the introduction of the Athlon last summer has kept the chip giant on its toes. But the incredible speed jumps in microprocessors over the past year is without precedent: Today, most users are running systems that sport a 500 MHz or slower microprocessor. And the competition, of course, is a good thing for consumers: In addition to rapid improvements in speed, users can expect to pay lower prices as well.
However, Intel's deployment of 1 GHz chips is likely to be slow. In sharp contrast to Athlon's promises for the Athlon, Intel says that its high-end part will be in short supply until the second half of the year.
"We will target 1GHz in the first half to people that can really appreciate it, such as PC enthusiasts \[and\] high-end gamers," an Intel spokesperson said. "It will be \[available in\] limited volume in Q2."
For the near future, Intel will release chips that fall between its 850 MHz and 1 GHz designs over the next few months. And the chipmaker demonstrated a 1.5 GHz chip, code-named "Willamette" that will likely mark the end of the 32-bit x86 line