Intel officially announced its upcoming Pentium III microprocessor, which is expected to usher in a new era of PC performance when it appears next month. The Pentium III--formerly known by the code-name Katmai--will be accompanied by the Pentium III Xeon processor (code-named Tanner), which is designed for high-end workstations and servers.

"Around the world, PC users associate the Pentium brand with the highest PC performance, compatibility and quality available," said Jami Dover, VP of Intel sales and marketing. "Computer users will be able to instantly recognize the Pentium III processor family as the top performer from Intel and in computer makers' product lines."

The Pentium III will debut at speeds of 450 and 500 MHz, though it will be priced at approximately the same price as current Pentium II chips. By mid-year, 600 MHz+ Pentium III systems will arrive