Intel slices Pentium III prices

The chipmaker trims prices of mobile Pentium III processors by up to 37 percent and of desktop Pentium III and Celeron chips in the lead-up to the release of Tualatin.

Intel has made double-digit price cuts on an assortment of Pentium III and Celeron processors.

The chipmaker cut prices Monday up to 37 percent on mobile Pentium IIIs and more conservatively on desktop Pentium III and Celeron chips.

An Intel representative said the price moves were part of the company's regularly scheduled price reductions, aimed at keeping prices current in markets such as laptops.

However, the cuts precede the expected introduction of Intel's Pentium III "Tualatin" chips later in the month. Several new mobile Pentium III chips are expected. The company will also ship desktop and server Pentium IIIs.

Tualatin is the code name for a Pentium III chip made using Intel's new 0.13-micron manufacturing process, which allows smaller circuits to be printed on chips, increasing speed and efficiency.

Intel dropped prices on its 900MHz and 1GHz mobile Pentium III chips by 37 percent, from US$423 to US$268 and from US$637 to US$401, respectively. Price cuts on Intel's 750MHz to 850MHz chips ranged from 18 percent to 31 percent.

Meanwhile, the chipmaker cut prices on desktop Celeron chips by as much as 14 percent. A 900MHz desktop Celeron, for example, now costs US$89, down from US$103.

The sole desktop Pentium III price drop came on the 933MHz chip, which was cut 11 percent to US$163.

Intel publicizes its price list for chips purchased in 1,000-unit quantities. Prices for distributors and PC makers that purchase chips in much larger lots are discounted further but not made public.

But analysts who track the company have noted that bulk prices on Intel's high-end chips, such as the Pentium 4, have been reduced more quickly than normal of late in an attempt to spur demand in the slow PC market. Merrill Lynch's Joe Osha said Monday that the company's 1.4GHz Pentium 4, which lists for US$193, has been selling to large customers for closer to US$100.

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