Microprocessor giant Intel and its smaller but increasingly adept rival AMD have unveiled faster new products in an attempt to bolster PC sales. Intel's most recent offering is a 2.2GHz version of the Pentium 4 processor, built with a smaller 0.13-micron manufacturing process that can supply cooler and faster chips. Meanwhile, AMD unleashed its fastest Athlon processor ever: the Athlon XP 2000+. The Processor runs at 1.67GHz, but according to most independent reviews, it outpaces 2GHz Pentium 4 chips. In addition to the new Pentium 4 chip, Intel released a faster 1.2GHz version of its entry-level Celeron chip—the same speed as the fastest Pentium III processor. The Celeron 1.2GHz chip is essentially identical to its Pentium III sibling and features 256KB of Level 2 cache and a 100MHz bus. The new Celeron chip sells for less than $120, compared with about $565 for the new Pentium 4 chip. The Athlon XP 2000+ costs about $340.
The speed advances followed a heated buying season in which Intel raked in almost $7 billion in sales, compared with about $900 million for AMD. But AMD gained a bit on Intel's market share, thanks to AMD's lower prices and performance wins. With these important new releases, both companies are raising the stakes and lowering prices to again gain market share.