Intel Launches 533MHz Celeron Processor

Eager to maintain a strong presence in the sub-US$1,000 PC market in the new year, Intel Corp. announced Tuesday availability of its new 533MHz Celeron processor.

The new processor, which has an integrated 128K L2 cache, is aimed at consumers who want a fast but inexpensive PC, says Intel spokesperson Seth Walker.

"Consumers want megahertz and price," he says. Intel plans to deliver more of both in 2000, and the new 533MHz chip is just the beginning. Later this year the chip maker will transition the Celeron chip from its current 0.25-micron size to a 0.18-micron size (the same as the Pentium III).

The smaller size will let engineers produce more chips at lower costs, he says.

Plus, a smaller processor also runs cooler, and that offers more headroom to increase processing speeds down the road.

In addition to faster, low-price desktop computers, watch for improved Celeron mobile processors for notebooks. The company expects to increase its top mobile Celeron processor from 466MHz to 500MHz sometime in the first half of 2000, he says.

However, he says Intel does not have immediate plans to add its SpeedStep technology to the mobile Celeron line. The company is set to announce January 18 a new mobile PIII featuring SpeedStep, which allows the processor to run at 600MHz when a portable computer is using AC power, and at a slower, power-saving speed when it is using battery power.

Despite this latest speed leap with the desktop version of the Celeron processor, the chip continues to lag far behind the speed of the latest 800MHz PIIIs. That probably won't change any time soon, Walker says.

"We can't just make a giant leap," he says. The value PC segment is evolving at a different speed than the high-end PC market. Intel and its competitors recognize that, and consumers can expect a logical speed progression in processors for that market, he says.

Intel hasn't officially announced the next speed upgrade to the desktop Celeron processor, but the likely progression would be to 566MHz.

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