Intel plans to launch its next family of PC chips later this year, called Pentium 4, promising speeds of up to 1.5Ghz.
Formerly codenamed Willamette, the Pentium 4 features a new micro-processor architecture that includes what Intel calls a 'hyper pipelined' design, which allows instructions inside the chip to be queued and executed at a much faster rate.
"It also features a 400Mhz system bus which is three times faster than the Pentium III," said an Intel spokesman.
Pentium 4 - not IV along the lines of Pentium I, II and III - also has an enhanced version of Pentium III's Streaming Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) extensions that boost video performance and speeds up encryption, he added.
The bus on the chip will allow 3.2Gb of data transfer per second. The arithmetic logic unit, the most heavily used part of the chip, will also run twice as fast in the Pentium 4 than in older generations of the processor.
Delivery of Intel's next-generation 32bit chip will further escalate the speed battle between it and arch-rival Advanced Micro Devices (AMD). Both Intel's Pentium III and the Athlon processor by AMD run at 1Ghz.
However, current software requires far less processing power than that offered by the latest generation of processor chips.
Intel argues that faster computers are needed for new generations of internet commerce, gaming and streaming media programs, which will create a demand for blistering fast processing power among home and business users alike.
But industry analysts have warned consumers that there is little reason to upgrade computers until software development catches up with chipmakers, and point out that most users do not need cutting-edge machines.
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