Intel is speeding up its microprocessors launches once again, with late August introductions of a 450 MHz Pentium II and two new Celeron processors that run at 300 and 333 MHz. These processors were originally expected late this year, but Intel has moved to a more efficient 0.25-micron process more quickly than expected. Current Intel CPUs are made with a 0.35-micron process; in general, with a smaller process, the chip can run cooler at faster speeds.

While the 450 MHz Pentium II will differ little from the current top of the line 350 and 400 MHz chips, the new Celeron processors are particularly interesting. Celeron, which is essentially a Pentium II with no L2 cache, forms the low-end of Intel's processor line, replacing the Pentium MMX. The new Celerons that are arriving in August are a new version of the processor code-named "Mendecino": They feature 128K of L2 cache, making them significantly faster than the current generation of 266 and 300 MHz Celeron CPUs.

For the near future, Intel is planning a 450 MHz Pentium II Xeon this Fall and a 366 MHz Celeron early next year. After that, the current-generation Pentium II and Xeon will be replaced with new designs, code-named "Katmai" and "Tanner." These chips will feature MMX-2 and will debut in the 450-500 MHz range. After that, yet another generation of processors, code-named "Coppermine" and "Cascade" will bump speeds up yet again, featuring an 0.18-micron process