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Intel saw it coming, at least a little bit. That's why Pentium III 600 was rushed out at the end of July, so that there was a Pentium III that runs at least at the same clock speed as the expected fastest version of Athlon. Unfortunately AMD did something that Intel used to do in the past, they just decided to release an Athlon one speed grade higher, and even though Athlon 600 is already a very bitter pill for Pentium III 600, AMD can now even claim to have not only the fastest, but also the highest clocked x86-processor on the market. That must hurt!
There's even more to say about PIII 600. It's strange enough that Intel is using the old overclocker-trick of raising the core-voltage a little bit. PIII 600 is using 2.05 instead of the 2.00 V used by PIII 450 - 550, which makes you wonder since when 0.05 V are supposed to make the big difference. Well, a lot of people are currently reporting problems with heat-induced crashes of PIII 600 and you start wondering if the release of PIII 600 was some kind of desperate move of Intel to save it from major embarrassment. The opposite could be the case now, if it indeed turns out that Pentium III 600 is not running really stable. The Pentium III 600 processors in our lab have failed several times too at 600 MHz, and this although our systems are always open. We'll have a close look into this issue right after the Athlon-review.