Intel introduces 3-GHz desktop chip

Intel Corp. has introduced its highest-speed desktop processor, the first chip to operate at a clock speed of 3.06 GHz, or more three billion instructions per second.

Dell Computer Corp. said it plans to sell a line of desktops featuring the new chip at prices ranging from US$1,854 for its low-priced Optiplex line to models priced at $2,999 and $3,599 in its Dimension and Precision lines. Lionel Menchaca, a Dell spokesman, said those prices represent a $300 jump over previous high-end desktops, which were powered by an Intel 2.8-GHz processor.

But, Menchaca said, the new 3-GHz machines include Intel's hyperthreading technology, which allows users to run programs such as virus-scanning applications in the background with unused processor resources, without slowing the performance of foreground applications.

Louis Burns, vice president and general manager of Intel's desktop platforms group, said that hyperthreading would make multitasking easier. Intel said it would brand the chips that incorporate hyperthreading technology with an "HT" insignia, as well as the Pentium 4 logo.

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