Sometimes Intel takes a bit longer ... In the last ten months it became very quiet around Pentium III for desktop systems, because Intel had to realize that it was impossible to squeeze more than 1 GHz out of the Coppermine design. Many people think that Pentium III has lost its future already, and who could blame them?
Now it seems as if Intel has either got trouble with its 0.13 micron process or it had one of its ingenious fits. The new Pentium III that we just introduced to you is not supposed to appear on the shelves anytime soon. The same is valid for 'Northwood', the upcoming 0.13 micron Socket478-version of Pentium 4, which is already running at 2+ GHz in all the test labs of motherboard makers. Overly smart marketing or manufacturing problems may be the reason for Intel's weird decision - we will probably never know. What we do know however is that the new Pentium III version could indeed have a strong influence on the prolongation of Pentium III's life span.
I don't have any doubts that its new design and process technology could enable Pentium III processors at clock speeds that put Pentium 4 to shame in a significant number of benchmarks. Intel doesn't want to jeopardize Pentium 4's sluggish and stony route to success, neither does it want to impact the already low sales of RDRAM. However, if the new Pentium III won't be released soon, the public won't even remember this processor anymore. I doubt that Intel realizes the consequences. The people who would buy faster Pentium III processors hands down today, will rather go for Athlon-platforms than wait for the release of Tualatin or - even less likely - buy a Pentium 4 system.