Intel's Pentium III smorgasbord (Part 1)

Chip giant's avalanche of new chips may cause confusion between Coppermine-powered and 'classic' Pentium IIIs

Intel Monday turned up the dial on desktop PCs with a smorgasbord of new Pentium III chips. The Santa Clara, chip maker introduced nine new Pentium III chips -- ranging from 500MHz and 533MHz processors for low-cost PCs to 667MHz, 700MHz and 733MHz processors for high-end desktops and workstations.

A number of PC makers have already adopted the new chips and will release them in systems, with prices starting at about £720. But the launch could bring with it at least some confusion due to the number of new chips.

Intel's nine new desktop processors come in 500MHz, 533MHz, 550MHz, 600MHz (which comes in two separate versions), 650MHz, 667MHz, 700MHz and 733MHz clock speeds. The chips all include 256KB of integrated Level 2 cache and support either a 100MHz or 133MHz system bus. The 500MHz, 550MHz, 650MHz and 700MHz chips support only a 100MHz system bus. The 667MHz and 733MHz chips support only a 133MHz bus. The 533MHz and 600MHz processors each support both a 100MHz bus and a 133MHz bus. The bus is a part of a PC that moves data between the processor and other system components, such as system memory.

Those chips supporting a 100MHz system bus will be used with Intel's current 440BX chip set, which is based on a 100MHz system bus. Those chips supporting a 133MHz bus can be utilized with an 810E chipset or, when it becomes available, Intel's delayed 820 chip set for high performance PCs. Many vendors, including Hewlett-Packard. and IBM, will also use VIA Technologies's Apollo PRO 133 chip set, which supports a 133MHz bus and 133MHz synchronous dynamic RAM, with the new Pentium III chips.

Part 2

Take me to the Pentium III Special.

Take me to the Merced Special.