Pentium III chipset delayed

IT managers looking to combine Intel Corp.'s new Pentium III chips, set to ship this week, with the company's next-generation chip set are going to have to wait a little longer.

The chip set, code-named Camino and known as the Intel 820, was supposed to ship in June, but Intel has pushed back its release until September. The 820 supports a 133MHz system bus, 4X AGP and new Rambus Direct RAM. It is the Rambus that has tripped up the California, chip maker.

IT managers will have to live with the Pentium III coupled with Intel's 440BX chip set, which supports a 100MHz system bus and 100MHz synchronous dynamic RAM, for a bit longer. Though it may disappoint some IT managers, who were looking for the chip set to alleviate performance bottlenecks in graphics and memory, Intel will not offer an interim technology, such as 133MHz SDRAM.

Rambus Direct RAM, or RDRAM, developed by Rambus Inc. and licensed by Intel and other semiconductor makers, is a new kind of memory used by the chip set. The delay results from difficulties getting the technology, which promises memory that operates at up to 800MHz, into volume production, said Pat Gelsinger, vice president and general manager of Intel's desktop products group.

The delay doesn't mean it doesn't work, Gelsinger added, citing his demonstration of a system configured with a 500MHz Pentium III, the new chip set and RDRAM during his keynote at Intel's developer forum on Tuesday.

RDRAM has been "moved out about a quarter," he said, because of "all that stuff that needs to come together to make it work. It's a bit delayed from our earlier expectations." In addition, IT managers will not see the most from their RDRAM-equipped PCs until Intel pushes the Pentium III past the 600MHz mark later this year.

"RDRAM is important for when you get into the 600MHz range," Gelsinger said. "That's really when you see the benefits."

Take me to the Pentium III Special.


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