Microprocessor giant Intel and its smaller but increasingly adept rival Advanced Micro Designs (AMD) will unveil faster new products Monday aimed at bolstering PC sales. Intel's offering is a new 2.2 GHz version of the Pentium 4, which is built with a smaller manufacturing process that can supply cooler and faster chips. AMD, meanwhile, will unleash its fastest Athlon processor ever, the Athlon XP 2000+, which runs at 1.67 GHz but outpaces 2 GHz Pentium 4 chips. With these important new releases, both companies are raising the stakes and lowering prices in order to gain market share.
The speed advances come shortly after a heated holiday season in which Intel raked in almost $7 billion in sales, compared to about $900 million for AMD. But AMD might have actually gained a bit on Intel's market share, though both companies are still awaiting final word on their holiday sales to be sure.
In addition to its new Pentium 4 chip, Intel will also release a faster version of its entry-level Celeron chip that runs at 1.2 GHz, the same speed as its fastest Pentium III. The Celeron 1.2 GHz chip is essentially identical to its Pentium III sibling, and features 256 KB of Level 2 (L2) cache and a 100 MHz bus. The chips will sell for less than $120, compared to about $565 for the fastest Pentium 4 parts. AMD's Athlon XP 2000+ runs about $340.