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Dealers have begun to release pricing for the Intel’s new Pentium 4 and “Prescott” chips expected next week, and have also tipped AMD’s expected price cuts later in February.

As expected, the prices for a Prescott and a Pentium 4 running at the same clock speed are virtually identical, with a gap of just a few dollars between the price of each processor. Customers wishing to buy the new 3.4-GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition may suffer sticker shock, however; dealers say the chip will cost over $1,000.

AMD, meanwhile, plans to lower the price of just its Athlon XP processors, dealers said, with the cuts tentatively scheduled for Feb. 15.

Price may play a factor in the Prescott’s acceptance. While Intel’s new chip may hide 64-bit extensions, some OEMs say they view the new processor as little more than a speed bump. Prescott contains 13 new instructions, a full megabyte of level-2 cache, and is Intel’s first to be manufactured on a finer 90-nm process, which should the chips to be more cheaply manufactured than the current 130-nm “Northwood” Pentium 4s.

“It’s going to be a horse race,” one dealer said. “You and I both know what Prescott offers, but it will be interesting to see how the OEMs position it with the prices being about the same. I’m guessing they’ll play up the new instructions and try for a multimedia angle.”

PC Progress, a dealer based in Elk Grove Village, Ill., published its revised prices on its web site Thursday night. Customers who choose to buy a 3.2-GHz boxed Prescott with fan and heat sink will pay $306, a dollar less than the current 3.2-GHz boxed “Northwood” Pentium 4, also with a fan and heat sink. A 3.0-GHz Prescott boxed Prescott with fan and heat sink costs $246, versus to the $244 the store will charge for the same version of a 3.0-GHz Pentium 4. The 2.8-GHz versions of both the Prescott and Northwood are priced at $203 and $200, respectively.

A second dealer said he plans to sell the 3.2-GHz boxed Prescott, for between $265 and $278. A forthcoming 3.4-GHz Prescott will be priced between $410 to $417, he said.

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