With the release of the Pentium II microprocessor this week, Intel will set in motion a series of products announcements and price cuts that will shape the PC landscape for years to come. The expected release schedule for the Pentium II looks something like this:

May 1997 - Pentium II at 233, 266, and 300 MHz January 1998 - Pentium II at 333 MHz April 1997 - Pentium II at 350 and 400 MHz

In addition to the CPU releases, upgrades to motherboard technologies and sweeping price cuts will mark each quarter for the next year. The first Pentium II releases this month will be coupled with the 440FX motherboard chipset, a year-old design. In September, Intel will debut the 440LX, with support for ECC (error-correcting-code) RAM, OnNow, SDRAM, and Ultra-DMA hard drive protocol. In April 1998, system bus speed will increase to 100 MHz--finally--and a new motherboard chipset, the 440BX, will debut. The 440BX chipset enables 100MHz SDRAM and will facilitate faster I/O-intensive applications.

By late 1998, Intel will introduce "Slot 2" for Pentium II systems. Basically, Slot 2 will allow Pentium II CPUs to access L2 cache at the full speed of the processor (current designs limit access speed to half of the processor speed). Systems using Slot 2 will include a new server chipset called 450NX that will support 2MB of L2 cache. Current designs are limited to 512KB.

Finally, support for 1394 "Firewire" and device bay technology will be phased in during 1998 as well.

Kind of makes you want to put off that new computer purchase, doesn't it