Intel will launch a 1GHz Pentium III processor on Wednesday, a source close to the company said today, two days after arch-rival AMD released an Athlon processor running at the same speed. IBM, HP and Dell are expected to be among the first PC makers to offer systems with the high-speed Intel chip. Intel demonstrated 1GHz Pentium III desktop PCs from those vendors at a conference for developers in Palm Springs, California, last month. Both Intel and AMD have accelerated their launch plans in recent weeks in a bid to be first out of the gate with a 1GHz product. Because of the hurried releases, the high-speed chips are expected to be in relatively short supply for the next few weeks, both companies have said. AMD said its fastest processor will be available initially only from Gateway and Compaq. Gateway is ready to ship its Select 1000 model today, a company spokesman said. Compaq will take orders for its 1GHz Athlon-powered Presario 5900Z PC Thursday and expects to ship the system to customers two to three weeks later, a Compaq sales representative said today. Intel spokesman George Alfs confirmed today that Intel plans to release a 1GHz Pentium III "very soon," but declined to be more precise as to specific timing. The same day that the processor is released, Intel hopes also to have at least one PC maker shipping 1GHz Pentium III systems, he added. Round three tomorrow.