Aus start-up has announced it will manufacture a Pentium clone at a price designed to undercut competition from both Intel and AMD.
Centaur Technology, part of semiconductor company Integrated Device Technology (IDT), aims to mop up the market after Intel abandons ordinary Socket 7 Pentium chips. That is expected to happen later this year as Intel introduces more MMX and Slot One product offerings. Intel has already positioned the ordinary Pentium as an embedded processor.
The Centaur chip will be made at IDT's fabrication plants in Oregon and San Jose. It will run at 200MHz, include MMX technology, cost around $100 (#62) and be available in the third quarter of this year. That will make it attractive to Taiwanese and other Far Eastern suppliers as a replacement for the more expensive and larger chips from Intel.
According to Glenn Henry, chairman of Centaur, the combination of the small chip size and a simplified manufacturing process allowed the company to offer a cheap Pentium clone. "Our goal is to extend the life of the Socket 7 infrastructure by delivering price/performance and working closely with chipset and Bios vendors," he said.
Although Intel will be pushing its Slot 1 and Slot 2 technology into the market this year and next, most machines sold over the next six to nine months are likely to use the old Socket 7 design.
That means that, although IDT is a relatively small player, it could make a considerable impact if it can persuade Taiwanese and other Far Eastern manufacturers to adopt its product.
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