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Intel has its famous "preview" day for the Pentium III this Wednesday and on that date it will persuade every type of vendor to support its new platform. Just a matter of days after it formally announced the Pentium III on the 24th of February, Intel will slash prices on its PII/350, PII/400 and PII/450, making them an exceptionally good buy if you don't want the 70 Streaming SIMD instructions. Intel supporters will include software and hardware vendors including HP, Compaq and IBM and a whole bevy of games companies eager to jump onto the Streaming SIMD bandwagon. But what do you do if you've bought yourself a bright and shiny Pentium II and want to upgrade? Thankfully, for the short term at least and if you can afford it, BX motherboards will support the Pentium III, an Intel representative said. He said: "The BX chipset will support the Pentium III. You need a BIOS upgrade to recognise the new registers." He said that Intel's own Seattle II BX board had a BIOS upgrade at the end of January and that (Pentium II board) will support the Pentium III. But the question remains whether any but dedicated gamesters will want to take advantage of the 70 or so instruction sets that Pentium IIIs offer. Two weeks ago, a senior executive at IBM EMEA admitted that for any application but those using intensive floating point operations. Even then, the performance boost was only about seven per cent, he said. The 450MHz Pentium III will cost around $450/1000 and the 500MHz Pentium III will cost around $695/1000. ®

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