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Intel Corp. on Friday disclosed plans to enable 64-bit processing capability on a low-cost Intel Pentium 4 processor clocked at 2.66GHz. The chip is likely to be priced well below $163 and enable very low-cost computers with Enhanced Memory 64 Technology. The move outlines Intel’s strong support for 64-bit capability in x86 desktop processors.

Intel Pentium 4 processor 506 will be clocked at 2.66MHz and will include 1MB of L2 cache. The chip is expected to replace Intel Pentium 505 processor that has the same clock-speed and amount of cache, but does not have EM64T as well as Intel Hyper-Threading technology. Intel did not indicate whether it plans to enable the Hyper-Threading on the Intel Pentium 506 chip. The new product is expected to be 533MHz processor system bus LGA775 infrastructure compatible, but a new BIOS for a mainboard will be needed to take advantage of the EM64T.

Intel will initiate supply of the Pentium 4 506 processor on the 27th of May, 2005, whereas mass supplies are scheduled for the 10th of June.

Intel recently disclosed plans to enable Intel Pentium 500-series processors with 64-bit capability in June. Pricing of the new 64-bit chips is expected to be similar to that of Intel Pentium 4 500-series processors. Currently the model 570J is priced $637, while the model 520J costs $163 in 1000-unit quantities. On the 30th of June, 2005, the chip giant is expected to slash the prices on a wide range of its products.

Unveiled in early 2004, Extended Memory 64 Technology also known under 64-bit Extension Technology or IA32e lets Intel’s server and client processors to execute specially-written 64-bit code and address more than 4GB of memory while maintaining absolute compatibility with today’s 32-bit applications. Intel said several years ago it would release 64-bit capable processors across all market segments when there are appropriate operating systems. Microsoft released its Windows XP Professional x64 Edition a couple of weeks ago.

Currently Intel also ships its 64-bit Pentium 4 processors 600-series with up to 3.60GHz clock-speed that contain 2MB of L2 cache, support EM64T, HT, EIST, EDB technologies, and are also compatible with 800MHz PSB LGA775 infrastructure, such as mainboards based on i915- and i925-series chipsets. Intel’s dual-core desktop products also support 64-bit.

Intel is also expected to release its Intel Celeron D chips with EM64T capability later during the year.

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