The chip, which has a clock speed of 3.06GHz, is also the first Pentium 4 to feature a technology the company calls "hyperthreading". Already built into its Xeon range of server processors, the technology allows multiple software threads to run more efficiently on a single processor.
Intel executives claimed users should see a performance benefit of up to 30%, but this also depends on whether support for hyperthreading is built into the operating system and software. Some versions of Linux and Microsoft's Windows XP feature support, but earlier editions of Windows do not, while application software support is limited.
The chip costs $637 (£402) in bulk quantities of 1,000 units, a significant premium over Intel's second-fastest desktop processor, the 2.8GHz version of its Pentium 4. In Tokyo, the chip went on sale Thursday afternoon in single unit quantities for ¥86,000 (£452).
Dell and Hewlett-Packard are to introduce machines featuring the chip, and NEC said its Mate MA30V/B, which features the chip, 128Mbytes of DDR (double data rate) memory and a 30Gbyte hard disk drive, would go on sale next month for ¥244,000.
Online PC vendor Epson also began offering the chip in its Endeavour MT-7000, which has a price of ¥197,600 and comes with 512Mbytes of DDR memory, 120Gbyte hard disk drive and an ATI Technologies Radeon 9000 Pro graphics board.
Sotec also announced a computer featuring the chip, while Fujitsu said it would begin selling a desktop PC and workstation featuring the processor late next month.