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2GHz P4 will turn us all into DJs

Slow speed processors frustrated musical geniuses - Intel

Intel has crossed the 2GHz barrier with the launch of the latest edition of its Pentium 4 processor.

OEMs will begin shipping PCs based on the 2GHz P4 from today featuring the 850 chipset, which includes dual RDRAM memory banks. The lower-cost i845 chipset, which features cheaper SDRAM memory, will also support the 2GHz P4 and allows system builders to produce systems that come in at a lower price point.

During a presentation at the Intel Developer Forum to announce the launch, Louis Burns, Intel VP and general manager of its desktop platforms group, made a fair stab at persuading the audience that the world really needs chips the run at 2GHz.

According to Burns, users' need for higher speed processors is based on "changing usage models". The 2GHz P4 responds instantaneously to requests, which he said allowed people to be more creative.

We enjoyed the demo of a music and video creation package, which along with a piece of kit that resembled an electronic drum machine, allowed a young Intel techie to play a self-assembled techno track that wouldn't sound too out of place in Ibiza.

There was also a demonstration of a medical application for doctors, which featured the use of Microsoft's visual clipboard and Smart Tags technology, which allowed physicians to retrieve detailed case-history information in an electronic format.

Burns said these kinds of emerging applications, and others that would, for example, manage email or work with encrypted peer-to-peer tools, needed the performance headroom that processor like the 2GHz P4 can provide.

That's not to say we've reached a plateau in the performance of P4 processors, which feature the Netburst architecture. During his presentation, Burns suggested the Netburst was scalable up to 10GHz (or enough for some really serious VDJ action, we guess).

Responding to a question on how the 2GHz P4 compared to chips from other manufacturers (read AMD), Burns said that it was "faster than anything on the planet" and promised the Pentium family would get "faster and faster".

The 2GHz P4, which is made using 0.18 micron process technology, and is available now. In 1000-unit quantities, the 2GHz P4 is priced at $562, as we predicted.

Intel also launched a 1.9GHz version priced at $375. Intel is shipping boxed Intel Pentium 4 processors up to 2GHz to distributors and system builders worldwide. ®

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