Vendors Roll Out PCs With Faster Celeron Chips - InformationWeek

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Vendors Roll Out PCs With Faster Celeron Chips

Budget PCs with Intel's Celeron processor just got faster, as major PC vendors today started shipping desktops with 433-MHz chips. The Celeron line now has chips at 333, 366, 400, and 433 MHz. Most vendors have stopped shipping PCs with the 300-MHz chip.

Intel had originally planned to ship the 433-MHz chip in the third quarter. But the chipmaker stepped up its production and marketing efforts as rival Advanced Micro Devices has grabbed a large amount of business in the sub-$1,000 PC market. Most of the Celeron machines, without monitors, are now priced at $800 to $1,000. Anticipating long-term pressure from AMD, Ron Peck, Intel's director of value PC marketing, described the competition at the low end as a "marathon" rather than a "sprint."

Independent tests show Celeron's performance to be only about 10% slower on common applications than Intel's Pentium III of the same clock speed. But most Pentium III PC prices are at least 20% to 30% higher than Celeron PC prices.

Although he expects some large business customers to buy Celeron PCs, Peck does not expect the chip to cannibalize the Pentium III. Most Celeron customers, he says, will be consumers and small business users who are looking for desktops with the best "processor-speed-to-price ratio." The Pentium III offers long-term consistency that allows several generations of machines to use the same chipset, BIOS, and drivers. Intel does not plan to offer such consistency in its Celeron line.

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