As expected, Intel on Monday announced the immediate availability of its next-generation Pentium 4 microprocessor, which is now shipping in a number of systems from leading PC makers. The Pentium 4 is currently aimed at high-end PCs and workstations, and features a NetBurst micro-architecture, which processes over twice as many instructions per pipeline than the previous design, that will power all of the company's new 32-bit designs going forward. The processor is the first completely new design from Intel since the release of the Pentium Pro in 1995. First generation Pentium 4 chips run at 1.4 GHz and 1.5 GHz, which will cost $819 and $644 respectively. The Pentium 4 requires a new Intel i850 chipset, RAMBUS RDRAM memory, and a 400 MHz system bus.
"The Pentium 4 processor is designed to give users performance where they can appreciate it most," said Intel executive VP and general manager Paul Otellini. "Whether streaming content, playing interactive games, encoding video and MP3 files, or creating Internet content, the Pentium 4 processor is designed to meet the needs of today's most demanding computer users."
A number of PC makers have already started shipping Pentium 4-based PCs, including Dell Computer, which is shipping its Workstation 330 and Dimension 8100 systems with the new chip. Compaq, NEC, Gateway, IBM, and Hewlett Packard are also among the many OEMs shipping product based on the Pentium 4. IBM's designs are particularly interesting, as they embrace consumer technologies, such as the ability to record TV shows directly onto one of the system's hard drive. The company says it will fill out its Pentium 4 offerings by the end of the year