Last orders for Pentium III

The date is set: from December, Intel will no longer take orders for desktop versions of the Pentium III, signalling a wholesale shift to Pentium 4 systems

Intel is looking to quickly phase out the Pentium III desktop PC processor this autumn as it ramps up production of Pentium 4 in computers with a mainstream price point, the company confirmed today.

According to industry sources, Intel plans to stop taking orders for the Pentium III desktop processor as of 7 December. Intel would not comment on the exact date that the chip would disappear. An Intel spokesman said that while Pentium III support will continue for some long-term Pentium III customers, such as governments, the focus will now definitively shift to Pentium 4.

Intel has been pushing Pentium 4 towards the mainstream for several months through a program of aggressive price cuts, but its efforts have been hindered by the processor's ability to work only with relatively expensive, next-generation Rambus memory (RDRAM). As of today, however, Pentium 4 is available with Intel's 845 chipset, which uses cheaper SDRAM, paving the way for Pentium 4 to become the mainstream PC chip.

"The Intel 845 broadens the Pentium 4 processor family by delivering support throughout the mainstream market segment for the advanced, and ever-evolving end-user PC usage models," said Louis Burns, Intel vice president and general manager, Desktop Products Group, in a statement. "I fully expect that this will become the next high-volume mainstream platform for IT departments worldwide."

Pentium III will continue as a mobile chip, with the recently introduced 0.13-micron Pentium III-M mobile processor moving into a low-cost Celeron incarnation later this year.

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