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x86 chips will be two a penny

But IA-64 Deerfield, Northwood won't be

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One of the interesting things we saw wandering around the halls of the Computex trade show in Taipei last week were the so-called "free PCs". These systems, which we saw on the Cyrix and one or two other stands, use microprocessors and other components which cost peanuts, while delivering a fair bit of functionality by yesterday's standards. Celeron processors -- a Pentium II by any other name -- almost cost peanuts too but in the next year or so, x86 chips, whether from the like of Cyrix, IDT, Rise, AMD or Intel, will cost practically next to nothing. One exhibitor at Computex told us that the cost to produce one gig of hard drive has now fallen to around $1. CRTs are cheap, and memory prices are beginning to slump. Given all of this, we're likely to see PCs around the end of the year which practically anyone can afford. Intel's response to this is to pave the way for an IA-64 generation aimed at the home and consumer market. That chip family is codenamed Deerfield but we won't see it until 2003. It is an X60 compaction of IA-64 but for the Willamette marchitecture. By that time, Intel will be talking 3000MHz turkey, and the processors won't be cheap. ®

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