In a public relations coup of questionable value to actual end users, Intel Corporation has leapfrogged rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) for the microprocessor speed crown with the release of its 1.13 GHz Pentium III. Intel was embarrassed this spring when AMD was able to hit the fabled 1 GHz plateau first with its Athlon microprocessor, but Intel has responded with a wide array of fast chips, including its own 1 GHz model. But Intel's fastest chips, especially the 1- and 1.13 GHz versions, are in extremely short supply, suggesting that their existence was brought about a bit early in order to fend off AMD. Without any high-end competition, it's likely that Intel would have waited to introduce the chips until a marketable supply was available.

"Intel's Pentium III processor reaches a new level of performance with 1.13 GHz, enabling Intel's customers to ship the world's fastest PC platforms," said Bill Siu, the vice president of Intel's Architecture Group. "With the Pentium III processor at 1.13 GHz, PC enthusiasts will be able to get the most out of the Web and the high performance applications they use today." The Pentium III 1.13 GHz will cost approximately $990 in quantity, though it's unclear when the company will be able to achieve decent output. Intel will release its successor to the Pentium III, the Pentium 4, this fall at 1.4 GHz