Intel touts smaller, faster P4s

Revs up to 2.2GHz

Intel today launches the much-touted Northwood P4 - at 2.2GHz, its fastest chip to date.

The P4 2.2Ghz with 512KB level two cache cost $562 in 1,000 units. The P4 2GHz 'A' ('A' to signal the 0.13micron version) now costs $364, 15 per cent less than its previous list price of $401. Again the price is for 1,000 off-tray units.

Based on the 0.13m manufacturing process, the CPU is also smaller and cheaper to make (once plant costs are amortised) than other P4s. Question is: will Intel drive home its scale advantage and superior balance sheet to crank up the price war with AMD, its smaller rival?

Probably not: 2001 was a tough year for both companies, and price wars are exhausting when carried out for too long. Besides, Intel is once again moving into clear leadership in the megahertz marketing stakes. We suspect the company will seek to repair gross margins and if we are right, this will benefit AMD too.

Memory

Intel today also officially debuts Pentium 4 support for DDR DRAM through the 845 chipset. We say officially as two Intel desktop boards, the D845PT and D845BG, which support the 845 chipset and DDR memory, started shipping into the channel last month.

DDR support for Pentium 4 means a cheaper 'performance' option than was available with Rambus-supported chipsets, and better price/performance benchmarks against AMD AthlonXP. VIA also supports DDR on P4, but without permission from Intel: the two are currently locked in legal combat. SiS has a P4 DDR chipset too, produced with Intel's blessing.

The Intel 845 chipset costs $39 in 1,000-units. ®

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