Intel is trying to persuade the United States Government to relax export laws on powerful computers as the company rolls out faster chips. 'We have to ask the government to raise the limits,' Intel microprocessor group general manager Albert Yu told Technology Post. 'We are working with them right now.' The US Commerce Department earlier this year tightened export rules that enable certain government departments to scrutinise the export of high-performance computers to the mainland and about 49 other countries. The rules apply to computers with speeds between 2,000 and 7,000 million theoretical operations per second (Mtops). Industry analysts say the laws will not apply to desktop computers powered by Pentium II chips released later this year, but are likely to cover new workstations and servers containing multiple processors. Intel last week announced the impending release of Pentium II Xeon, a new brand for its server and workstation chip that will take the place of the Pentium Pro. The first Xeon chip, to be released by mid-year, will run at 400 megahertz and have a performance-boosting two megabytes of extra cache memory. It is expected to carry a hefty price of US$4,489, sources quoted by Internet news service News.com say. If true, Xeon's price point would mark a new high, as Pentium Pro chips have been sold for between $1,035 and $2,675 - up to three times as much as top-speed Pentium II chips for desktop PCs. Competitive pricing in the desktop PC microprocessor market has shrunk Intel's profits, but the company faces virtually no competition in the Windows-based workstation and server market. A 450 MHz Xeon chip will come out by the end of this year, and a 500 MHz version will be released next year. Intel also demonstrated a prototype of a 333 MHz Celeron chip, a lower-cost chip for PCs scheduled for release by mid-year.