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Intel Rolls Out Powerful New Pentium Chips : Technology: Several major computer makers immediately announce plans to incorporate the chips in new machines.

March 08, 1994|From Reuters

NEW YORK — Intel Corp., racing against Apple Computer Inc. to deliver the most powerful personal computers, Monday rolled out its new family of high-speed Pentium microprocessors. Several major PC makers immediately said they plan to offer new machines using the chips.

The rapid growth of the home PC market--driven by new home-office computing, multimedia applications and a boom in subscriptions to on-line services--makes the race for the most high-powered chip all the more critical.

Intel's new chips are designed to steal market share from the PowerPC microprocessor, developed jointly by Apple, Motorola Inc. and IBM Corp. and introduced last year.

The Intel move comes a day before IBM is expected to roll out a new high-end notebook computer that runs on the PowerPC chip. And Motorola is expected to ship a new version of the PowerPC chip, called the 604, late this year.

Both the new Pentium PCs and their competitors based on the PowerPC chip are expected to range in price from about $2,400 to $5,000.

Intel, the world's largest computer chip maker, Monday introduced two faster versions of the Pentium chip, which was unveiled last spring.

The new versions run at speeds of 90 or 100 megahertz--compared to the 66 megahertz of existing Pentium chips. The processing speed of chips is measured in megahertz, or millions of cycles per second.

The 100-megahertz Pentium processors cost $580 each in lots of 1,000.

Intel estimated Pentium-based computers will account for about 15% of PC shipments this year.

"Higher-performance processors are entering the mainstream of the marketplace faster as the PC becomes a mass-market, interactive home appliance," said Paul Otellini, senior vice president of Intel's Microprocessor Products Group. "The home PC spans entertainment, education, family business and home office uses--all requiring the increasing levels of performance provided by the Pentium processor family."

The new Pentium chip raises the quality and performance of multimedia education and entertainment programs, Intel said.

Intel also introduced a new version of its popular 486 chip, the DX4, which is about twice as fast as existing 486 chips.

Several computer makers announced their support for both Intel chips. Among them, Digital Equipment Corp., based in Maynard, Mass., said it will incorporate Intel's new DX4 and Pentium chips in its new personal computers.

The first line of Digital computers to use the chips will be its premium line of DECpc XL systems, Digital said. It did not say when it will begin shipping the machines.

Houston-based Compaq Computer Corp. has introduced a new notebook computer line built around Intel's DX4 chip. The fully configured machine starts at under $2,800, Compaq said.

AST Research Inc., based in Irvine, said its new Bravo line of personal computers, ranging in price from about $1,880 to $2,800, will run on Intel's DX4 processor.

Hewlett-Packard Co. of Palo Alto is expected to introduce a new line of Pentium-based PCs priced at about $5,000.

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