Intel's Pentium 4 Extreme Edition chip will be used in gaming PCs from Dell, Gateway and a number of other PC vendors, the companies announced yesterday.

As expected, Intel released the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition yesterday as a high-end desktop processor that improves the performance of the Pentium 4 product line until Prescott, the 90-nanometer version of the Pentium 4, is released later this year.

The chip's clock speed is 3.2GHz, and it comes with 2MB of Level 3 cache and Intel's hyperthreading technology. According to chip analysts, the processor is essentially a desktop version of Intel's Xeon MP chip which is used in servers.

Intel first announced the chip at the Intel Developer Forum, one week before AMD launched its 64bit Athlon FX processor for gaming PCs. The new chip will cost $925 (about ?750) in quantities of 1,000 units.

Gamers are viewed as influential PC buyers by chip makers and PC vendors. They are willing to pay top dollar for the best performance available on the market, and push chip vendors to release new products and develop technologies.

Gateway will make the processor available in a new high-end gaming PC, the 700GX. It will cost $3,299.99 (about ?2,000) with the new processor, 512MB of PC3200 (400MHz) DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM), a 160GB hard drive, a GeForce FX 5900G graphics card from Nvidia with 256MB of video memory, a DVD-RAM/-R/CD-RW drive, and a 19in CRT (cathode ray tube) monitor.

A configuration of Alienware's Area-51 Extreme gaming PC comes with the new chip, 1GB of PC3200 DDR SDRAM, a 120GB hard drive, nVidia's GeForce FX5950 graphics card with 256MB of video memory, dual DVD-ROM and CD-RW optical drives, and no display for (around ?1,800).

Dell's Dimension XPS desktop and Precision 360 workstation will now be available with the chip, Dell said.