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November 2, 1995

PENTIUM PRO TO STAY ALOOF FROM DESKTOP UNTIL 1997

By CBR Staff Writer

Intel Corp formally announced the Pentium Pro processor yesterday, squarely aiming it at the workstation and server markets, with the desktop personal computer market conspicuous by its absence. It is now shipping three versions of the Pentium Pro clocked at 150MHz, 180MHz and 200MHz, all with a 256Kb level two cache. Steve Poole, Intel’s European vice-president sales and general manager described the 200MHz Pentium Pro as the fastest microprocessor on the planet. A 166MHz iteration will be available with a 512Kb cache in the first quarter of next year, with a 200MHz version following in the next quarter. The 150MHz and next year’s 166MHz Pentium Pros will be produced at the 0.6 micron Leixlip fab in County Kildare, Ireland. Other versions will be produced on 0.35 micron processes in the US. As most of today’s 16-bit application software will not run any faster on the Pentium Pro than the Pentium (CI No 2,734), and even Windows95 contains a substantial amount of 16-bit code, Intel has been left with the server and workstation markets – tiny compared with the desktop market, even if Windows NT continues to grow at current rates (CI No 2,753). Poole said it would be 1997 before there are sufficient 32-bit applications for the Pentium Pro to reach the desktop at a realistic price. Meanwhile he described the Pentium – further iterations of which are due next year – as the best option in the marketplace for 16-bit code. The Pentium name links it to its predecessor, but its architecture is sufficiently different that there will be no Pentium Pro Overdrive upgrade path from the Pentium. The company confirmed that the Pentium Pro will run hotter than the first Pentiums did, though the latter did not have a level two cache on the same chip carrier (CI No 2,606). Prices start at $974 for the 150MHz version, rising to $1,989 for next year’s 200MHz chip with a 512Kb cache; both prices are for quantities of 1,000. Intel also launched two PCI chip sets, one for workstations and one for servers, with up to four processors on each. There was also a plethora of server and workstations announced yesterday. Dell Computer Corp’s start at ú2,750, Digital Equipment Corp’s ú3,880 and Hewlett-Packard Co’s at $5,000. Other companies, including Compaq Computer Corp are choosing to wait until the New Year.

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