Intel Unveils Pentium 4

Intel Corp. Monday rolled out its long-awaited Pentium 4 microprocessor with computer makers Compaq, Dell, Gateway and Hewlett-Packard announcing immediate support. Intel said all major computer makers and software suppliers have spent months readying products for the processor, and all major desktop PC makers have Pentium 4-based PCs or workstations under development.

The 32-bit processor, built around a completely new architecture called “NetBurst,” is designed with the Internet user in mind, offering improved data encryption, video compression and peer-to-peer networking capabilities.

Specifically, enhancements include:

  • Hyper Pipelined Technology, enabling the processor to execute instructions in a 20-stage pipeline as compared to the 10-stage pipeline of the Pentium III; the technology supports a range of clock speeds, with initial offerings of 1.5 and 1.4 GHz
  • The Rapid Execution Engine, a process that allows frequently used Arithmetic Logic Unit instructions to be executed at double the core clock
  • A 400 MHz system bus
  • An additional 144 instructions designed to speed processing of video, audio and 3-D applications
  • Advanced Dynamic Execution, allowing the processor to recognize parallel patterns and prioritize tasks.

The platform is based on Intel’s 850 chipset and has dual RDRAM memory banks, which together with the 400 MHz system bus provides up to 3.2 GB of data per second.

“The Pentium 4 processor is designed to give users performance where they can appreciate it most,” said Paul Otellini, executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Architecture Group. “Whether streaming content, playing interactive games, encoding video and MP3 files, or creating Internet content — the Pentium 4 processor is designed to meet the needs of today’s most demanding computer users.”

Dell, Gateway and HP were quick to back Intel’s new offering.

Dell Monday introduced the new Dell Dimension 8100 series, a line based on the Pentium 4 that is THX-certified for theater-style surround sound and graphics. Dimension 8100 configurations — including a 1.4 GHz processor, 128 MB of RDRAM, a 40 GB hard drive, 32 MB TNT2 M64 graphics cad, 48X CD-ROM drive, M991 19-inch monitor (18-inch viewable) and a SoundBlaster Live Sound card — begin at $1,999.

Gateway is offering Pentium 4 configurations for its Performance 1400, Performance 1500 and Performance 1500 XL systems. Also starting at $1,999, Gateway’s PCs are being marketed as the perfect platform for cutting-edge Internet technologies like streaming video and MP3 audio as well as digital photo editing.

HP, meanwhile, is pushing the Pentium 4 in its HP Pavilion 9795C home PC and its HP Vectra v1800 business desktop.

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