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Intel Corporation will continue to boost the speed of its Extreme Edition microprocessors in the first quarter next year, as X-bit labs reported some time ago. What was not clear before is that together with the clock-speed, Intel is said to push up the pricing of its premier microprocessor in Q1 2004.

In addition to its Prescott (Intel Pentium 4 with SSE3) CPUs, Intel announces another speed bin for its Pentium 4 and Pentium 4 Extreme Edition products. To complement its lineup with broad range of offerings, the Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker will add Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition at 3.40GHz with whopping 2MB of L3 cache and the Intel Pentium 4 processor at 3.40GHz with 512KB of L2 cache microprocessors. Both chips will be produced using Intel’s mature 0.13 micron technology and will feature 800MHz Quad Pumped Bus being compatible with existing i865 and i875P infrastructure.

Today sources close to the company revealed the pricing of Intel’s 0.13 micron chips at 3.40GHz. Apparently, the Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition at 3.40GHz will cost shocking $999 in commercial quantities starting from 1000 units, while the less expensive Pentium 4 3.40GHz will be priced at a rather affordable $417 price-point for mass quantities.

The Pentium 4 Extreme Edition chips are targeted at enthusiasts and gamers, who do not care much about pricing of computer components. Nonetheless, CPU pricing at beyond $1000 will definitely restrict quite some hardware maniacs from getting into the game with Extreme Edition. However, given that there are a lot of over-priced hardware nowadays, I believe that the number of enthusiasts, who are willing to pay Intel for the new chip an enormous sum is still quite significant.

Intel’s main rival Advanced Micro Devices is also expected to introduce some new microprocessors either later this year or in early 2004. According to information X-bit labs published earlier, AMD is set to announce the Athlon 64 3400+ processor with 1MB of L2 cache and single-channel memory controller running at 2.20GHz in late 2003 for performance-mainstream customers. Additionally, the company is anticipated to roll-out its Athlon 64 FX-53 chip with dual-channel memory controller and 1MB of L2 running at 2.40GHz targeting high-end enthusiasts market. The former microprocessor will compete with typical Pentium 4 at 3.40GHz, while the latter will fight for the performance crown with Intel's Extreme Edition processor at 3.40GHz.

Spokespersons from Intel and AMD usually do not comment on unannounced products and availability dates for future microprocessors.

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