Chip giant Intel will take its flagship Pentium 4 desktop processors to speeds reaching 3GHz by the end of next year, a company spokesperson said today.

Pentium 4 processors hitting the 3GHz mark have already been demonstrated at recent developer's conferences hosted by the Santa Clara, California-based chip maker, but Intel's goal is to bring the speedy chips to market before 2003.

The onset of smaller 0.13-micron engineering technology from Intel has played a significant role in accelerating the clock speeds of Intel processors. Intel last month opened a new 0.13-micron processor manufacturing facility in Chandler, Arizona. The new facility, known as Fab 22, was a $2bn investment by Intel.

Intel has intensified its focus on the development and manufacturing of processors for PCs, laptops, handhelds, and other computing devices. The company is phasing out its line of Intel-branded consumer-targeted products such as Intel Create & Share software.

Certain older, slower desktop Pentium III chips have also begun to ride off into the sunset, the spokesperson said.

Intel has given notices of discontinuance to its customers concerning future orders for many Pentium III chips with 100MHz system buses that have clock speeds less than 1.1GHz. But plus-1GHz Pentium IIIs with 133MHz buses are not affected, nor are Mobile Pentium III chips.