A 1,000MHz PIII? Now that's a chip!

Despite an announcement of a Pentium III running at 1,002MHz on Tuesday, customers will still have to wait until late in the year 2000 -- or even 2001 -- before they see such speeds on the desktop, said execs at Intel Corp. "This is not something you are going to be able to buy," said Pat Gelsinger, vice president and general manager of Intel's desktop products group, during a keynote here at the Intel Developers Forum in Palm Springs.

Despite an announcement of a Pentium III running at 1,002MHz on Tuesday, customers will still have to wait until late in the year 2000 -- or even 2001 -- before they see such speeds on the desktop, said execs at Intel Corp. "This is not something you are going to be able to buy," said Pat Gelsinger, vice president and general manager of Intel's desktop products group, during a keynote here at the Intel Developers Forum in Palm Springs. The comments came after Intel showed off a Pentium III processor running at 1,002MHz -- about 1GHz -- essentially twice as fast as the current rated speed for the chip.

Processors can easily be "overclocked" -- sped up to clock speeds higher than their rated speed. However, overclocking makes processors run hotter, so cooling with fans or refrigerants is necessary. Intel officials did not immediately know what cooling mechanism was used to speed up the processor, but thought liquid nitrogen may have been used. The demonstration was run by the engineers from the Intel architecture lab.

The announcement was the latest move in a game of one-upmanship between Intel and its chip rival, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. Last year, AMD claimed that it would have a consumer-ready processor running at 1GHz by the year 2000 -- at least six months before Intel's plans for similar speeds. So Intel's demo Tuesday at least put the company in the same territory.

Intel's roadmap for its processors puts the maximum speed of desktops at 600MHz for 1999 -- but the speed race is somewhat of a moot point. While the market focuses on clock speeds as a measure of speed, many other factors go into determining processor performance.

AMD's next-generation processor -- the K7 -- is expected to outperform the Pentium III, even though it will most likely run at lower clock speeds, said Peter Glaskowsky, analyst with MicroDesign Resources Inc., during a recent interview.

The K7 is expected to be in computers by this June.

Take me to the Pentium III Special.