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Intel Launches 2 GHz Pentium 4

Intel goosed its processor clock speeds to a new psychological level this week with the introduction of the 2 GHz Pentium 4. The processor marks one half of what Intel and Microsoft hope will be a PC industry-reviving duo of fast Pentium 4 processors and Windows XP.

Microsoft handed the final Windows XP code over to PC manufacturers on Friday in a publicity stunt that involved attache cases and helicopters on the Redmond campus. The official launch date for Windows XP is Oct. 25.

Intel's public statements celebrating the new processor gave a nod to a general mood that Intel's processor clockspeed may have outstripped business and consumer need.

"The experience of the PC industry has proven repeatedly over the years that usage models evolve and new applications emerge," Louis Burns, vice president and general manager for Intel's Desktop Platforms Group, said in a statement. "While innovation can sometimes be hard to predict, it is critical for our industry to drive forward-looking platform architectures that enable new capabilities."

Intel claims the 2 GHz Pentium 4 gives an 81 percent performance improvement over 1 GHz Pentium III processors for consumers who are creating and sharing digital files. For business users, with their multitasking environments requiring background operations such as antivirus, encryption and file compression, a processor upgrade translates to about a 50 percent performance improvement, Intel says.

Intel prices the 2 GHz Pentium 4 at $562 in 1,000-unit quantities. A new 1.9 GHz Pentium 4 costs $375.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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