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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Intel Unveils Pentium Chip, Highlights Russian Market

Intel Corp. has reaffirmed Russia's status as the company's leading emerging growth market, unveiling its latest Pentium computer chip here on the same day as the U.S. introduction.

But, as in the United States, computer systems housing the new chip won't be available here until the "back-to-school'' season in the first few weeks of August, said Steve Chase, Intel's regional manager for Russia and the Baltics.

In the meantime, some who have had a chance to test Intel's newest 200-megahertz Pentium Pro microprocessor contend the chip isn't noticeably faster for graphics, multimedia and Microsoft's Windows 95 applications.

"We expected [the 200 MHz chip] would significantly improve the performance of the graphics and floating point calculations,'' said Dmitry Sannikov, an automation and telecommunication specialist for Gazprombank, who attended the unveiling. "Actually, it didn't.''

But at $599 per chip, the price seems right. "If you take the performance-price relationship, this [chip] has better results," Sannikov conceded, sipping soda during the unveiling Monday at the Baltschug Kempinski Hotel.

More than ever, Intel seems to be relying on aggressive marketing to put it ahead of other emerging-markets rivals that manufacture chips for personal computers. "We want to build up the Intel and 'Intel Inside' brand name, meaning safe and high technology," Chase said.

Meanwhile, the new chip will allow local retailers to sell a full line of products with Intel processors, including the $4,500 fully-loaded Pentium Pro 200 MHz personal computers capable of full-duplex audio, performance graphics and options like 3-D and video conferencing.

Despite its focus on Russia, Intel still has no public plans to build a greenfield chip-making facility here anytime soon.

Last year, Intel did $80 million in sales in the Russia-Baltics region, and Chase sees them topping $100 million this year. Roughly 22 percent of sales are to government, and about 15 percent to banks.

Intel expects personal computer sales to hit 120 million units annually by 1999, more than double the 42 million sold in 1994.