CeBIT 2000: Intel looks ahead to 4GHz chips

Higher speeds to fulfil users' Star Trek dreams
Written by Will Knight, Contributor

Intel has committed itself to more speed mania in the never-ending battle to get one up on rival AMD. The microprocessing giant has promised to raise the bar for processor clock speeds to 3GHz and 4GHz in the near future.

At the CeBIT technology show in Hannover, Germany, Intel's director of architecture, Gordon Graylish, said the chip giant is already looking into technology that could bring these sorts of dizzying speeds to the world of personal computing.

"It's not going to stop," says Graylish. "We can't see the next 10 years. We've just reached 1GHz, but we can see speeds of 3GHz and even 4GHz." Graylish refused to be drawn out on exactly when we might see these dizzying processor speeds, however.

He added that this is not speed for the sheer hell of it; the company has the practical needs of users in mind. "One thing we're not worried about is people needing [the speed]," he said. "What people want is Star Trek. They want to be able to talk to intelligent devices, and this takes performance."

One thing Graylish does concede, however, is that the gigahertz game is a superficial measurement of a chip company's real success. "[Clock speed is] a pretty bad measurement of a chip's overall performance," he admitted. "It is a bit like buying a car based on the size of its engine."

Intel may be in trouble, rival AMD is frontrunner with its 850 MHz Athlon. There's more, too. Go with Jesse Berst to AnchorDesk to read comment about what's next in desktop chips -- and what it means to you.

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For full coverage see ZDNet UK's CeBIT 2000 special.

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