Intel unveils faster Pentium processors

Intel laid the foundation of its global internet strategy yesterday with the launch of its Pentium III microprocessors.

The launch of the chips, produced on a finer 0.18 micron process technology in contrast to the current 0.25 process, is an "unprecedented" event in Intel's history, according to the company's Australian general manager, David Bolt.

"The new Pentium III is the first step in Intel's strategy to be the building block supplier for internet technology across the world," he said.

The 0.18 micron production process has allowed Intel to increase the density of its chips, fitting more transistors and circuitry on-board which equates to faster and cooler running speeds, new performance enhancing features, lower power consumption, and smaller units, Bolt said.

Bolt admitted the new chip would enable PC manufacturers to try and match Apple for style in the wake of the popularity of its user-friendly fruit-coloured iMacs which, at last count, had sold over two million units.

Bolt said there is "no limit" to how the new processors can be packaged.

The nine new "Coppermine" desktop processors are available in speeds ranging from 500MHz to 733MHz and feature an Advanced Transfer Cache, delivering a performance boost of up to 25 per cent when compared to earlier PIIIs running at the same clock speed, Bolt said.

The mobile PIII processors are available in 400, 450 and 500MHz speeds and, according to Intel, can boost the performance of some mobile units by greater than 100 per cent.

In addition to the new mobile and desktop processors, Intel has introduced the PIII Xeon for the server market. The new Xeon will run at 600 to 733MHz with Intel's new 840 chipsets. Bolt said the company had been forced to delay the release of its 820 chipset for desktop PCs until later this year.

Prices start at $US239 for desktop 500MHz Pentium III-500E, and range up to $826 for the Pentium III Xeon-733 workstation/server unit.