Waiting for the 3GHz Pentium 4

While the tech world braces itself for the introduction of Intel's Pentium 4 3 GHz chip, the company is paving the way by introducing price cuts in its current range of processors. The cuts peak at 27 per cent and focus on the high end of the Pentium 4 and Celeron families.
The upcoming 3GHz P4 is set to cause another wave of controversy, as far as performance is concerned, since it will feature Hyperthreading, a function which according to Intel allows for a boost in performance of up to 20 per cent. This new feature, always according to Intel, combined with the fastest clock speed in the market, will make Intel the undisputed leader in processor performance. The flip side of the story however, is that most servers and workstations already have featured Hyperthreading but most manufacturers, including Hewlett-Packard and Dell, ship products with Hyperthreading turned off.

The most prominent chip to be affected by the price cuts is the Pentium 4 2.8 GHz, released in September when Intel's last price suts were implemented. Its price will drop by 21 per cent, from USD508, in 1,000 unit quantities, to USD401. The prices on the 2.66GHz and 2.6GHz P4 chips drop 24 per cent, from USD401 to USD305. The 2GHz P4, drops 19 per cent, from USD103 to USD83, while the 1.4GHz chip drops 27 per cent, from USD74 to USD54.

No one would have guessed that the PC market is currently in a slump just by looking at what the two major processor manufacturers are doing. To them it has remained business as usual. They suggest that the current drops in sales figures are a temporary phenomenon, based on the fact that many large businesses haven't upgraded since 1998 or 1999. As the cost of supporting older systems begins to catch up with the companies, everyone expects that sales numbers will rise again.

In order to avoid falling too far behind their rivals, AMD also plan to release the Athlon XP 2700+ and 2800+ in the next few weeks.

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