Intel breaks the 2GHz barrier with Pentium 4 chip

Intel on Monday ushered in the era of 2GHz PC computing with the introduction of the first Pentium 4 chip to break the 2GHz barrier, officials for the chip maker said. A 1.9GHz Pentium 4 chip also rolled out on Monday, officials said.

The 2GHz Pentium 4 runs 81 percent faster than a 1GHz Pentium III chip, according to Intel.

PC manufacturers such as Dell, Compaq, MicronPC, Gateway, and others that offer the latest Intel chips will each introduce PCs wrapped around the speedy new Pentium 4.

The 2GHz chip incorporates Intel's high-performance 850 chip set with dual RDRAM (Rambus dynamic RAM) memory, as well as a 400MHz system bus that can handle up to 3.2GB of data per second, according to Intel.

The 2GHz Pentium 4 is priced at US$562 in 1,000-unit quantities. The 1.9GHz version sells for $375 in lots of 1,000, according to Intel.

A 2GHz Pentium 4 processor also moves Intel's Pentium III chip line one step closer to retirement. With the exception of fulfilling long-term contracts for Intel's Pentium III chip, Intel officials expect the Pentium III to be "obsolete" on the PC by the end of this year.

The 2GHz Pentium 4 gives Intel a firm hold on the title of fastest PC processor. Intel rival Advanced Micro Devices' fastest Athlon PC chip runs at 1.4GHz.

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