The new low-end processor from Intel, to be named Celeron, has met with a muted response from the world's PC manufacturers. At present, only NEC-Packard Bell and Sony have announced firm plans to develop products with the new chip.
Critics have described the new product as a Pentium II without high-speed cache memory. Early indications are that while the 266MHz Celeron will be cheaper than a full Pentium II, the price/performance of PCs based on it may not exceed that of systems based on a standard 200 MMX-style processor.
Both IBM and Compaq are readying low-end MMX-based PCs for April shipment, around the date when Intel says the Celeron will be available to manufacturers. Intel says that another Pentium II variant for the high performance PC and server market will be announced later this year.
The modest reception for the Celeron chip coincides with warnings from Intel of impending Q1 results well below market expectations thanks to weaker than expected demand.
Rival chip maker AMD, itself in the throes of troubled production and poor results, is nevertheless reported to be bullish about the window of opportunity that Celeron's introduction and slow Intel sales may augur.