Intel Seasons Celeron

Intel Thursday began offering an incremental speed bump to its entry-level chips in preparation for the holiday season.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip making giant said its Celeron processor is now available at speeds up to 2.80 GHz for desktop and mobile PCs.

Based on Intel’s 0.13-micron process technology, the processor uses 478-pin packaging and features a 400 MHz system bus.

“It’s targeted at the discount PC market and is also used in portable desktop replacement notebooks where our Centrino technology excels, but where mobility is not a concern,” Intel spokesperson George Alfs told

While Intel could not say which of the PC vendors would be using its faster Celeron chips, traditional Celeron buyers Sony , Dell , Hewlett-Packard , Gateway and Toshiba are expected to put the processors in their less-expensive models.

The new Celeron also comes with an attractive price point ($117 in 1,000-unit quantities). The last time the Celeron got a speed bump was back in September when Intel offered the chip at 2.7 GHz speeds for a bulk price of $103. Before that, the processor performed at speeds of 2.20 and 1.26 GHz priced at $149 and $107, respectively.

The price shift comes as Intel makes room for next generation chips based on 90 nm process technology, compared to the Celeron lines that are based on older 1.3 micron process.

Intel is giving its desktop and mobile line quite the workout of late. Earlier this week, the company began shipping its new 3.2 GHz new Pentium 4 Extreme Edition for enthusiast PCs, which the company. Dell, Gateway and a flurry of whitebox manufacturers have already promised to ship the P4EE in their upcoming desktop offerings.

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