Intel vs AMD: Get ready for Round Three

Forget Lennox Lewis vs Mike Tyson: The two chip titans keep pounding away at each other, with the bell sounding on the third round. How long can it last?

It's been nearly a year now, and Intel and Advanced Micro Devices continue to trade blows in their PC processor death match without an end in sight. While it has been a month since AMD's last chip launch and nearly two months since Intel's, the bell is about to ding for Round Three.

In other words, bring on the third quarter. Intel will be the first to land a punch this quarter, with the announcement of a faster desktop chip.

The company promises to be ready to rumble 31 July, when it releases a 1.1GHz desktop Pentium III.

The chip, actually running at 1,133MHz, will have a slight megahertz advantage, but will be available only in limited quantities at first. (Intel's 1GHz Pentium III, the company says, will increase in availability over the quarter, with sources predicting volume shipments at the quarter's midpoint.)

AMD is far from down for the count, however. It is cooking up a 1.1GHz Athlon chip, which sources say is due in mid-August.

Company insiders have jabbed back at Intel, saying that despite waiting a few extra weeks for availability, AMD's 1.1GHz processor and resulting systems will be available on day of launch.

The chip will feature "performance-enhancing cache memory", or 256KB of integrated cache, based on the company's Thunderbird processor core.

AMD is also expected to launch a 750MHz Duron chip around the same time.

The last year of the Intel-AMD tiff has also been rife with price cutting. While they've been sparring over megahertz, the chip makers have also been landing heavy punches on the cost front.

This week, for instance, Intel reduced prices on select desktop Pentium III chips as part of a scheduled price hacking.

Pricing on the 1GHz Pentium III chip stayed the same at $990. The largest price drop was on the 800MHz Pentium III, which fell 24 percent from $385 to $294.

Prices on the 866MHz and 933MHz PIIIs were reduced by 17 percent and ten percent, to $465 and $669, respectively. Intel also cut prices on its Pentium III Xeon by between nine percent and 12 percent.

Intel schedules these moves ahead of time, averaging about one pricecutting session per month, a spokesman explained.

AMD will fight back with price cuts of its own, near the introduction of its 1.1GHz Athlon. The 1GHz Athlon is priced at $990 right now, with the 950MHz at $759.

Go to Pt II/ Notebooks: The final say

See Chips Central for daily hardware news, including an interactive timeline of AMD and Intel's upcoming product launches.

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