AMD's Sempron value processors to arrive in Q3

AMD's Sempron value processors to arrive in Q3

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has unveiled its new low-cost Sempron processors with plans to sell the chips in low-cost systems to both developing countries and mature PC markets.

Sempron processors are designed to eventually replace the Athlon XP, AMD's seventh-generation processor, and immediately replace Duron, the low-cost chip still sold into some emerging markets.The Sempron chips are based on either the seventh-generation Athlon XP core or the eighth-generation Athlon 64 core, although none of the chips have the 64-bit capabilities of the Athlon 64 processors.

The basic computing needs of consumers and business users were changing as multimedia capabilities become an intrinsic part of PCs, mobile marketing manager for AMD, Vahr Mahoney, said.

Users around the world who once needed a PC for only word processing or Web surfing were discovering Internet gaming, digital video and music downloads, he said.

However, those same users had no need for the 64-bit capabilities provided by the Athlon 64, and weren't willing to pay a premium for that technology, Mahoney said.

Sempron was designed to provide a little more performance than some of AMD's older value processors, but at prices that would keep basic PC costs as low as possible, he said.

AMD has releaseed both desktop and notebook versions of Sempron.

Desktop PCs will be available from Lenovo Group in China, and HP and Acer will release systems worldwide with Sempron processors in the third quarter, Mahoney said.

The chips would be available from multiple vendors by the fourth-quarter holiday shopping season, he said.

AMD also hopes the chips would outperform Intel's Celeron D processors, Mahoney said. Just like Celeron D, Sempron chips are virtually the same as their full-featured counterparts, but come with less cache for storing frequently accessed data close to the processor.

Six of the new Sempron desktop chips are based on the seventh-generation Athlon XP core and one is based on the eighth-generation technology. The six chips based on the seventh-generation core come with 256KB of Level 2 cache, half the amount of Level 2 cache found on the Athlon XP chips. They range in clock speed from 1.5GHz to 2GHz, and will be assigned model numbers between 2200+ and 2800+.

The Sempron chip based on AMD's eighth-generation technology will come with several features that Celeron processors lack, including the No Execute virus protection technology enabled by Microsoft's forthcoming Windows XP Service Pack 2 and the Hypertransport interconnect technology. It runs at 1.6GHz and comes with 256KB of Level 2 cache, less than the 1MB of Level 2 cache on some Athlon 64 chips or the 512KB on the Newcastle Athlon 64 chips. That earned this chip a model number rating of 3100+.

Five mobile Sempron chips wouldl make their way into low-cost notebook systems over the rest of the year, Mahoney said. AMD would have two categories of mobile chips based on power consumption. One category of mobile Sempron chips for full-sized notebooks would consume 62 watts of power under maximum conditions, and a separate category for thin-and-light notebooks would consume 25 watts under maximum conditions.

The mobile chips are based on the Athlon 64 core, but do not have 64-bit capability. Three chips will be initially released in the 62-watt category, and two chips in the 25-watt category. The 2600+ and 2800+ processors in each category run at 1.6GHz, but the higher-rated processor comes with an additional 128K bytes of Level 2 cache for a total of 256KB. The 3000+ processor in the 62-watt category runs at 1.8GHz and comes with 128K B of Level 2 cache.

Pricing information for the new chips was not immediately available.

AMD's model numbers are meant to compare the Sempron chips to the clock speeds of their Celeron D counterparts. However, Intel no longer lists its processors by clock speed, moving to a different processor numbering system for its latest 90-nanometer chips.

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