Intel reduced pricing of its Pentium 4 600 series in a move to phase out the 500 series. The biggest drop occurred for the 660 model (3.6 GHz), which fell 34 percent from $605 to $401. New prices for the remaining models are $605 for the 670 (3.8 GHz, minus 29 percent), $273 for the 650 (3.4 GHz, minus 32 percent), $218 for the 640 (3.2 GHz, minus 20 percent and $178 for the 630 (3 GHz, minus 21 percent).
Despite the fact that the 600 series processors carry twice the L2 cache (2 MByte) of the 500 series, the newer chip generation now is slightly cheaper than the outgoing 500-series generation.
Pentium 500s will be phased out by the end of the year, will 600-series processor will trickle down from performance PCs into the mainstream segment ($700 to $1299) and continue to be offered as business platform chips in 2006. There are no further price reductions expected for the Pentium 500; the Pentium 600 will see two updates with the virtualization technology enabled 672 and 662 models, which will be priced at $605 and $401.
Intel plans to introduce five new 600-series processors in Q1 of next year: The 631, 641, 651, 661, and 671 will be based on the 65 nm "Cedar Mill" core and support Hyperthreading, 64-bit extensions, SpeedStep and xD bit technology, but will not receive virtualization capability. (THG)