With marketers like Dell Computer Corp. and IBM Personal Computer Co. advertising PCs featuring Intel's flagship chip, Pentium is the high-end chip of choice-at least for now.
Dell, the big mail-order PC vendor, was the first major company to announce it had switched a model line over to a modified Pentium.
"We have the new chips. Guaranteed," said a recent ad from Goldberg Moser O'Neill, San Francisco, in The Wall Street Journal and tech publications.
Dell may run more ads when it shifts all Pentium PCs, including its value line, to the chip, said Account Supervisor Vikki Garrod.
Intel initially downplayed significance of a chip flaw late last year, only agreeing to replace chips in existing Pentium-powered PCs after the issue exploded into a PR debacle.
Last week, the company announced a 37% drop in earnings for the fourth quarter due to a one-time pretax charge of $475 million for replacing the faulty chips. Overall, however, net income was down less than 1% to $2.29 billion for 1994.
IBM in mid-January repeated an ad in the Journal for its PC 700, a Pentium-powered business model. The ad, from Ogilvy & Mather, New York, first ran in November.
IBM brought the flawed Pentium issue to a head late last year when it halted sales unless customers specifically asked for a Pentium PC.
Skeptics noted IBM had a stake in seeing Intel stumble: IBM is pushing the rival PowerPC chip and is allied with Intel clone marketer Cyrix Corp. A spokesman said IBM only was looking after its customers. "We didn't want to tell customers what to do. We let them decide," he said.
IBM isn't claiming Pentium is better than IBM PowerPC models, expected to go on sale later this year. "At the moment, there is no PowerPC-based PC," the spokesman said. "We're talking about right here, right now."