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  • Price: Approx. $210 for retail CPU

    Availability: Out now (limited quantities)

    Web: www.intel.com

    With news of 1 GHz processors from Intel and AMD dominating the hardware headlines, the gap between high-end and value systems has been growing steadily wider. The most popular Celeron systems feature CPUs of speeds from 466 to 533 MHz, while this is just the entry-level speed for the Pentium III Coppermine. Added to the Celeron's speed discrepancy are the absence of SSE enhancements and further Coppermine L2 cache refinements. System vendors also look at processor speed as only one part of the mix and tend to incorporate less expensive components with a Celeron system than a standard Pentium III PC. This disparity in overall system prices makes choosing a new PC an even more difficult proposition than it should be.

    Although the Celeron remains a popular choice in the value PC sector , Intel has finally upgraded the line to make it more competitive with current CPUs.In part because of perceived competition from AMD, Intel has launched a new version of the popular Celeron processor, which includes SSE support and runs at speeds of 566 and 600 MHz. These FC-PGA Celerons feature the vaunted Coppermine core, but are differentiated from the Pentium III Coppermine in many of the same ways their predecessors were from their Pentium II cousins.

    When Intel first announced the Celeron processor, I'm not sure they were ready for the impact it would have on the desktop market. Initially designed to offer value consumers an alternative to the higher priced Pentium II processors, the original Celeron 266, and subsequent Celeron 300, were essentially cache-less Pentium II processors using the Deschutes core. Intel announced the Celeron 266 at the same time as the Pentium II 350 and 400 CPUs, which left the previous Klamath core behind. The cache-less Celeron 266 was met with derision from the business community, and standard Winbench and Winstone scores were very low in comparison to Pentium II processors. Sadly, the Celeron 266 and 300 were thus relegated to the extreme low end of the business PC scale.

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