Hot on the heels of AMD's launch of the 700MHz Duron low-cost microprocessor, Intel is cranking up its own Celeron processor to the same speed.

Intel launched three new models of the Celeron processor, aimed at the market for sub-£700 PCs. They run at 633MHz, 667MHz and 700MHz, and are available immediately.

The processors are already with PC manufacturers(original equipment manufacturers) such as Dell and systems housing the new processors should be available almost immediately.

In contrast, last week none of the leading PC makers were ready to offer a system based on AMD's Duron.

The new Celerons feature a 66MHz system bus and 128K bytes of on-chip level-two cache. They have the same FC-PGA (flip-chip pin grid array) packaging as the company's Pentium III processor which, coupled with the company's new 815 chipset introduced last week means manufacturers can design motherboards which can take either the Celeron or Pentium III processor.

The new processors - and two slower models introduced earlier this year - are manufactured using the 0.18-micron technology which Intel introduced at the end of last year.