Less than a week after competitor Intel sped up its Celeron chip to 800MHz, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) this week will unveil the 850MHz version of its Duron microprocessor for the cost-conscious consumer PC market.
One of the first companies which has already snapped up the new processor is Compaq Computer, using it in a Presario 5000 series desktop, said 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 of 2001 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 are in the pipeline for the Duron in the future 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 new 850MHz Duron comes with a 200MHz front-side bus. 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, a senior analyst with Cahner's Microdesign Resources. 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, he said. Krewell suspects that performance lead over Intel's rival chip will continue with the new 850MHz version of Duron.
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. "It further adds to their credibility of bringing products to market on time."