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Intel's 1GHz: Coming sooner than you think

At its Intel Developer Forum, the chip maker shows off three near-production PCs with 1GHz Pentium IIIs; such machines will begin shipping 'shortly'

Intel says users may see 1GHz sooner than they thought -- even "shortly".

The chip maker showed off three near-production PCs with 1GHz Pentium III chips inside at the Intel Developer Forum here Tuesday.

For consumers, the demonstration shows that 1GHz PCs, fitted with Pentium III chips from Intel, will be available in limited quantities sooner than was previously expected.

At the root of the demo is the fact that Intel has pulled in its desktop processor roadmap again.

The company moved up its timetable late last year in announcing its 800MHz Pentium III chip. The 20 December unveiling brought the chip out in limited supply months sooner than was originally expected. The chip reached wide availability in late January/early February.

Similarly, the 1GHz Pentium III will be available in limited quantities at first. But, it will be widely available in the third quarter, according to Intel.

The company will begin shipping 1GHz systems "shortly", said Pat Gelsinger, an Intel vice president and general manager of the Desktop Products Group. However, he said, "when we say limited-volume 1GHz, we mean limited volume".

Dell Computer, IBM and Hewlett-Packard (HP) are in the final stages of validation of their 1GHz machines, Gelsinger said. "We're finishing the evaluation of the software load to bring (the PCs) to the marketplace."

With the roadmap begin pulled in, end users will see other processor speeds more quickly as well.

An 850MHz Pentium III chip is expected imminently, sources said. Intel has also sped up rollout of its 866MHz and 933MHz Pentium III chips, which will now ship in the first half of the year. The 933MHz Pentium III, for example, had previously been slated for the second half.

The company will also accelerate introduction of faster Celeron processors. Whereas a 600MHz Celeron was expected in the second half, it will now be delivered in the first half, with a 700MHz version expected in the second half of the year.

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