AMD bumps Duron up to 850MHz

InfoWorld |  Hardware

LESS THAN A week after competitor Intel sped up its Celeron chip to 800MHz, Advanced Micro Devices on Monday will unveil the 850MHz version of its Duron microprocessor for the cost-conscious consumer PC market.

One of the first companies to have snapped up the new processor is Compaq, which will use it in a Presario 5000 series desktop, according to Linda Kohout, AMD product manager for the Duron processor. The model is currently being sold on the Home Shopping Network.

Other announcements are expected during the first quarter for the speedier chip to be appear in PC products from Fujitsu-Siemens Computers, Time Computer, Tiny Computer, and Evesham.com, Kohout said.

The new processor has the same inner workings as previous Duron chips, except for the increased clock speed, Kohout said. AMD now sells the Duron at speeds of 750MHz, 800MHz, and 850MHz. Further speed upgrades for the Duron are in the pipeline, and an update is expected to be carried out on the core of the chip, she added. End-users can expect no change in the chip's performance other than increased speed, Kohout said.

The chip is available immediately worldwide, but AMD did not immediately release pricing for the processor.

AMD's Duron chip offers a newer processor core and a larger front-side bus compared to its Intel Celeron competitor, said Kevin Krewell, senior analyst with Cahner's Microdesign Resources, in Sunnyvale, Calif. The 800MHz Intel Celeron has a 100MHz front-side bus, while the 800MHz Duron has a 200MHz front-side bus.

At the 800MHz level the AMD Duron chip already outperforms the Celeron, Krewell said. He suspects that performance lead over Intel's rival chip will continue with the new 850MHz version of Duron, which also has a 200MHz front-side bus.

Although the bump to 850MHz from 800MHz may seem like a small step, one analyst said it indicates the improvements AMD has made in the past 18 months.

"It's always very positive that they are sticking to their road map and making these incremental steps," said Tony Massimini, chief of technology for Semico Research in Phoenix, Ariz. "It further adds to their credibility of bringing products to market on time."

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