Intel breaks 3GHz speed barrier

Intel's new 3GHz Pentium 4 chip should soon let loose a torrent of new, high-performance desktop PCs. It may be a year before the 3GHz chip, expected this week, and its hyperthreading feature catch on among business buyers, but gamers and affluent consumers will have them both on hand for the holidays.

PC makers such as Dell Computer will offer the 3GHz chip in their performance-oriented desktop models, which sell for $2,000 and above. A Dell representative on Tuesday confirmed that the company would offer the new chip when it is made available.

But the manufacturers are also expected to pair the new chip with a number of other top-of-the-line components to form high-test, special-edition desktops that sell for $3,000 or more.

These machines will include the new Pentium 4, along with 512MB to 1GB of RAM, hard drives ranging from 120GB to 200GB, DVD burners, large flat-panel displays with screen sizes of 17 inches or greater, and ATI Technologies' new Radeon 9700 Pro graphics board. Many manufacturers made similar offers with the launch of the 2GHz Pentium 4.

But the newest 3GHz special-edition desktops will likely cost less than some of their predecessors, the first 1GHz PCs. Some of the desktops that included the first 1GHz Athlon and 1GHz Pentium III chips sold for thousands more than this week's expected crop--some for as much as $5,999.

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News source: ZDNet

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