So what happens when Timna grows up? Is Timna the potential successor to a discreet Celeron chip? It's still too early to say. However, Intel has plans to make both the Timna and the discreet Celeron chip available to PC makers for some time, sources said.
There are other Timna secrets. Intel will launch the Timna chip as a lower cost alternative to discreet Celeron. However, what the company has not yet made public is that Timna will quickly grow up to match discreet Celeron chips in clock speed. Sources say the chip will match the current Celeron chip in clock speed by the first quarter of 2001.
Intel's discreet Celeron chip is now available at speeds of up to 600MHz. The company plans to introduce new 633MHz, 667MHz and 700MHz versions of the chip, by the very end of June. A 733MHz version of the chip will ship in the fourth quarter, with a 766MHz coming in the first quarter of 2001.
Timna, on the other hand, will debut late in the third quarter of this year at 600MHz and 667MHz, sources said. The chip will quickly gain in clock speed, jumping up in 33MHz increments, to reach 700MHz, 733MHz and eventually 766MHz in the first quarter, sources said.
From there, sources said, the two chips -- the current version of Celeron and Timna -- will continue in lock step throughout the rest of the year.
Sources say that Intel expects some PC makers to offer Timna from top-to-bottom in their consumer product lines. A PC maker could, for example, adopt Timna for low-cost PCs, but also use it to deliver more expensive, small form factor models in the same product line. Still other PC makers may not do so, depending on what they see as making sense for their product mix.
Timna, if adopted, could result in some compelling new prices and possibly some new form factors. However, the chip isn't a guaranteed success, despite Intel's claims of high levels of adoption by major PC makers. Intel is hedging its bets with plans to maintain its discreet Celeron chip lines along with Timna for the foreseeable future.
It all comes down to what consumers are willing to live with. Not everyone will want a PC whose graphics processor cannot be upgraded.
However, "Within the value market, primarily what we're seeing is that price is one of the biggest factors (in buying decisions)," said Jeff McCrea, director of marketing for Intel's Desktop Products Group. Timna, he said, "is going to give you the best value in terms of a combination of performance and cost."
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