Fear of competitors stealing market share has prompted Intel to bring forward the introduction of its 200MHz Pentium to June, and the company will slash prices on May 1.
The chip was originally due for release at the end of summer, but Intel has released it early to challenge the introduction of Cyrix' 200MHz 6x86.
In June, Intel will introduce a fresh revision of its Triton chip set.
Intel is also to stop announcing monthly price cuts. Some manufacturers had expressed concern that monthly cuts increased grey-market activity and caused confusion in the market.
The May price cuts will mean 100MHz and 120MHz Pentiums will be the entry level Intel processors. Prices of the 100MHz and 120MHz parts will be slashed by about 30 per cent, according to sources at a major manufacturer, spelling their effective end.
An Intel representative said that his company would deliver high volumes of the 200MHz Pentium starting in October - in time for the Christmas season. 'We're close to revisiting prices,' he said.
Sukh Rayat, MD of Flashpoint, a non-Intel distributor said: 'I think they (Intel) are running. From what we're seeing, Cyrix sales are doing well. There was a further price drop from Cyrix on the P166 of $60 last weekend and we'll maintain that differential on prices.'
But Brendan Sherry, European MD of Cyrix, claimed Intel was playing a catch-up game. 'They need a headline because we've frightened the life out of them,' he said. 'We'll be there with our processor the same day as Intel.'
Cyrix prices were set at 85 per cent of Intel's pricing, he said. 'Our prices will hold as long as Intel holds its prices.' David Hemming, MD of Panther Computers, said: 'AMD, IBM and Cyrix will respond with price cuts as well.'
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