Intel has shaved a few dollars off the prices of its microprocessor chips for desktop computers. This is part of a broader effort to accelerate the adoption of its recently launched P4 chip.

The cuts, which Intel said are part of its normal pricing activity, are deepest on its Celeron processors, aimed at budget PCs. The chip giant also cut PIII prices by as much as 11 percent, and prices for its P4 chip by up to 4 percent. The new prices took effect March 4.

While the price reductions on the P4 are relatively small, this is the second time this year that Intel has cut prices on that product. The vendor hopes to reach the 'crossover point' between PIII and P4 - that is, when it sells more P4s than PIIIs - by early 2002.

The price cuts should trickle down pretty quickly, particularly for mail-order PC firms who only hold a week's stock.

Intel is going to get more competition now that its closest rival, AMD, has secured a Europe-wide business PC partner in NEC.