E in Intel 810E stands for chEap

New chip set to drive prices for Pentium III PCs under $1000.

PCs based on Intel's Pentium III chip are set to break through the $1000 barrier.

The chip maker Monday announced a new desktop PC chip set, the 810E, designed for high performance -- but relatively low cost -- PCs. The 810E chip set works with Pentium III processors and offers support for 66MHz, 100MHz or 133MHz system buses. A system bus is the data pipeline between the processor and the rest of the PC's components. The release of Intel's other new chip set, the more up-market 820, has been delayed. (See Intel confirms 820 chip set delay.)

Due to the 810E's relatively low cost -- about $39.50 (£24) per chip set in large quantities -- Intel hopes that PC makers will take advantage of the chip set to offer lower cost, Pentium III-based PCs. The company is targeting 810E for use in PCs that are priced between about $1200 and about $1500, company officials said.

However, PC makers may be able to offer desktop models with the chip set for even less money. Dell Computer, for example, will offer an OptiPlex GX110 model with the chip set, a 450MHz Pentium III processor, 64MB of RAM, a 6.4GB hard drive and a 15-inch monitor for $999.

At the same time, the 810E can be used with two new Pentium III chips announced Monday, which support a 133MHz system bus. The new chips, a 533MHz Pentium III and a 600MHz Pentium III will cost $369 and $615, respectively, in 1000 unit quantities. The 600MHz Pentium III has a "B" designator to show it supports a 133MHz bus.

Dell will also offer an OptiPlex GX110 model with the 810E chip set and a 600BMHz Pentium III, 128MB of RAM and a 13.6GB hard drive, along with a 17-inch monitor for priced at $1996.

The 810E helps to achieve lower overall system cost through integration. It integrates, for example, a 2D/3D graphics engine, so that an additional graphics board is not required. Along with the 810E, Intel also introduced a new 810E motherboard based on the MicroATX standard, which allows for smaller form factor PCs by eliminating the 16-bit ISA bus.