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Intel Follows AMD, Ships 1-GHz Chip

March 8, 2000

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Two days after chip maker Advanced Micro Devices Inc. began selling one of the fastest processors yet on the market, rival Intel Corp. began shipping its own version of a gigahertz processor Wednesday.

The gigahertz chips _ Intel’s Pentium III and AMD’s Athlon _ speed up everything from games to graphics and have the ability to execute three program instructions at a time.

The processor is the equivalent to the pulse of a computer, beating at 1,000 million pulses per second to search computer databases, render virtual reality scenes or recreate the sounds of an entire orchestra.

While processor speed is only one measure of a computer’s performance, experts say it is one of the main features consumers consider.

Most consumers now have computers that run at less than 500 megahertz, according to research firm Dataquest. But analysts say the additional speed will become more necessary as the home computer shifts from being primarily used for word processing and surfing the Internet to a central hub connecting various devices in the home.

AMD unveiled its Athlon processor on Monday, months ahead of schedule, in a symbolic move that coincided with the six-year anniversary of Intel’s breaking the 100 megahertz mark.

Intel said Wednesday that its gigahertz chip runs faster than others because it has a special memory subsystem, or cache, that increases the clock speed for processing. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said its gigahertz chip loaded complex Web pages in 13.1 seconds, versus 15 seconds for its 800 megahertz chip.

Intel said its chip, which began shipping in limited quantities, would be priced at $990. AMD priced its chip at $1,300.

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