Intel yesterday announced its latest addition to the Pentium III line, a 1.13GHz model that makes it - for now - the fastest CPU available for desktop PCs. Initially, the new chips will be available only to select manufacturers, then will come into wider availability in the next few months. Intel expects the high-end chips to appeal to PC enthusiasts and those who need top processing power for advanced applications such as video editing, complex scientific computation, and power gaming. Intel says the new processor demonstrates a five per cent performance gain over its 1GHz model on the Sysmark 2000 benchmark. The new processor will fit Slot 1 motherboards only, which means that initially it will be coupled with an 820 or 840 chip set, a 133MHz system bus, and Rambus memory. (Intel's new 815 and 815E chip sets, which support PC-133 SDRAM, fit Socket 370 instead of Slot 1.) Third-party motherboard makers may offer other configurations. Both Dell and IBM are announcing desktop models based on the new chip. A sample configuration from Dell's Dimension XPS B series offers a 45GB hard drive, an NVidia GeForce2 GTS graphics card with 64MB of DDR SDRAM, a 3Com 10/100 Ethernet card, and a 19-inch monitor for around £2,500. IBM's Aptiva will offer a 40GB hard disk, a Guillemot 3D Prophet graphics card with 32MB of DDR SDRAM, and an Intel AnyPoint home PNA card for phone line networking; prices will be over £2,000. Both new systems will also have 128MB of RDRAM, both DVD-ROM and CD-RW drives, Sound Blaster Live cards, and Windows 98 Second Edition. Both are sold directly from the manufacturers.
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