Intel Corp. formally launched the Pentium III processor today, countered by rival Advanced Micro Devices' introduction of a 450-MHz version of its competing K6-2.
Intel's launch followed an earlier "preview" day, which was designed to help promote the processor in advance of today's launch, followed by yet another mass-market promotional campaign that kicks off on Feb. 28. As expected, the chip maker announced the Pentium III at 450 and 500 MHz, with a separate 550-MHz version to follow in the second quarter.
According to Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel, the Pentium III processor at 500 MHz is 93 percent faster than the Pentium II processor at 450 MHz on CPU intensive 3-D calculations, using the specialized transformation and lighting tests that form part of the 3D WinBench99 test suite.
The Pentium III chips, running at 450 and 500 MHz speeds with 512 Kbytes of L2 cache, are available now. Pricing in 1,000 unit quantities is $696 and $496 for the 500 and 450 MHz parts, respectively.
Meanwhile, Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD announced its 450-MHz K6-2 processor is shipping, priced at $203 each in 1,000-unit quantities.
"The 450-MHz AMD-K6-2 processor now gives PC users the same fast clock rate as our competition and the visual experience provided by 3DNow! technology," said S. Atiq Raza, AMD co-chief operating officer and chief technical officer, in a prepared statement. Raza is also expected to be named president of AMD, according to published reports.
"More life-like images and graphics together with big-screen sound and video are now available in a 450-MHz processor," Raza added.