Intel demonstrated the Covington chip for the first time last week at its developers' conference. The chip is the first stage of a new strategy that will up the pressure on clone manufacturers. The low-end Covington chip, whose existence was first revealed by PC Week last year, is a cacheless Pentium II which will launch at 266MHz by the end of the second quarter this year. It signals the company's reversal of its old strategy of releasing high-performance chips to the top-end, than trickling into the mid-range once price cuts began. Last week Intel also revealed Covington's cache-laden twin, Mendocino - another Pentium II but with 128Kb of level 2 cache on board. Albert Yu, senior vice president and general manager of the microprocessor products group at Intel, told the audience at the Intel Developer Forum in San Jose that the company would no longer supply only the top-end markets. "We have developed our strategy to supply products to all segments of the market," he declared. A company spokeswoman explained to PC Week: "This is big news for Intel because it's essentially changing our business model. Now we will be designing products specifically for the basic segment - which we expect will grow." However, Dataquest analyst Joe D'elia, believes Intel needed to change its model to realise its ambition of putting Pentium II everywhere. "Intel's intention is to be able to have wall-to-wall Pentium II," said D'elia. "It couldn't do that with its previous model because of AMD and Cyrix, which have both done well in the lower segments."
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