Intel has slashed prices on its desktop Pentium III and Celeron processors by as much as a third, as the giant chip maker prepares to launch its faster 1.4GHz Pentium 4 processor.

These chip price cuts could be good news for PC buyers, by reducing the price of systems from companies selling PCs with Intel processors.

Intel's 1GHz Pentium III processor will drop 31 percent, while the 933MHz Pentium III drops 32 percent to $348. The 866MHz version will sell for $241, a discount of 33 percent. Intel said the price moves are regular price adjustments. It often cuts prices on the introduction of faster processors.

Cost-conscious buyers also got a break when Intel took an axe to Celeron processor prices, used in budget PCs. The fastest Celeron chip, which runs at 700MHz, fell by 36 percent to $88, while the price of a 667MHz Celeron was cut by 26 percent, to $83.

Other Pentium IIIs and Celeron processors running at slower clock speeds were also cut in price, but for some only by as 5 percent. Intel also cut prices on its Mobile Celeron processors by between 7 and 28 percent. Pricing for mobile Pentium III processors remained unchanged.