Intel Spotlights Pentium III

CANNES, France (Reuters) - The French seaside resort of Cannes is a frequent setting for previews and Wednesday a tiny microprocessor was the star here as U.S. giant Intel Corp (Nasdaq:INTC - news) turned the spotlight onto its Pentium III processor. Rob Eckelmann, managing director Europe, Middle East and Africa at Intel, told Reuters in an interview that the Pentium III, to be officially launched on February 17, would be priced in the same range as the current Pentium II.

``The Pentium III will be placed at the same price points as the Pentium II when it hits the market by the end of the year,'' he said in Cannes at the Milia multimedia trade fair. He declined to be more specific. A Pentium II processor, the most sold microprocessor in personal computers at the moment, trades at between $150 and $400 per unit depending on specifications. ``The Pentium III will allow us to continue what is the miracle of this industry -- every year and a half we can double the performance that the customer gets for a given price point,'' Eckelmann said.

``This (product) will be the majority of what we make in the fourth quarter this year,'' he added. Pentium III will be faster than its predecessor, not only by the clock -- going from 450 to 500 Mhz at the launch to a gigahertz (one thousand megaherz) by the second half of 2000 -- but also in web speed. Eckelmann said Pentium III would improve the performance of Internet web sites by up to 10 times due to an instruction set called SIMD - Single Instruction Multiple Data. Intel has worked with web agencies, portal providers, sites and software makers to have the main web sites ready for the new Intel technology.

In Cannes, some 30 applications were on display ranging from an interactive three-dimensional site for product designers to an educational tool for biology lessons showing, for instance, how blood flows through the body. While some observers say the main stumbling block to growth of Internet usage is the transfer rate of data -- called bandwidth -- and that processors are already quick enough, Eckelmann disagreed.

``You need as much bandwidth as you can get, and also as much processing power as you can get,'' he said. ``Pentium III was developed with the Internet in mind. We are probably never going to get all the bandwidth we would like, so we are compensating for that with the power of the processor. We are getting two to 10 times the frame rate for video on a given application and given bandwidth,'' he said.

``If you have more bandwidth, you can take it a step further of course,'' Eckelmann added. Intel expects that the bandwidth issue will get an enormous boost this year. While current modems, mainly using phone lines, are defined as narrowband with 28 to 56 kbps (thousands of bits per second) speed, broadband will be 1,000 times faster with speeds of 1.5 to 38 Mbps (million of bits per second).

This is possible through satellite-based services such as Digital Video Broadcast, cable television modems or enhanced telephony modem technologies such as ADSL or G.Lite. Once these technologies are commonplace, the World Wide Web will no longer be the World Wide Wait and users can see their favorite actors real-time at the Cannes film festival on their computer with the quality of good television.

Source:  Press Release


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