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For Intel Chips, Name Is All About Performance

March 20, 2004|Terril Yue Jones | Times Staff Writer

Chip maker Intel Corp. on Friday unveiled a new naming system for its personal computer processors that is designed to give consumers information about the chips' overall performance instead of focusing on how fast they process data.

The Celeron and Pentium chips are currently known solely by their clock speed. Beginning this spring, chips will be given 300-, 500- and 700-series labels to designate how much high-speed memory they have and how much data can be sent through them at one time.

"It's like cars, where people used to buy based on horsepower," chip analyst Nathan Brookwood told Bloomberg News. "Now they're more worried about leather seats and cup holders."

The 300 series will be used for the lower-priced Celeron chips in notebook and desktop PCs, said Intel spokeswoman Laura Anderson.

The 500 series will designate midrange Pentium 4 chips for desktop PCs and Mobile Pentium 4 processors for notebooks. The 700 series will include the high-end Pentium 4 Extreme Edition chip for PCs and the Mobile Pentium 4 chips used in Centrino packages for wireless Internet communications, she said.

"This naming system will make it easier for consumers to make purchases at the store," she said.

Intel discussed the nomenclature with German automaker BMW, whose cars use a similar system, Anderson said.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel produces chips for more than 80% of the world's PCs. Shares fell 71 cents to $26.49 on Nasdaq.

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