Amid the countdown to the launch of its highest-performing processor yet, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) quietly released three Duron chips for low-end desktops aimed at price-conscious buyers last week.
AMD had said in 2002 it was planning to phase out the Duron chip, and hadn't released a new Duron for desktops since January 2002. But customers in emerging markets such as China, Latin America, and Eastern Europe were looking for cheap PCs, and Duron chips were in demand from system builders, an AMD spokesperson said.
The company has released three versions of the chip at 1.4GHz, 1.6GHz, and 1.8GHz. The new Durons are built on a new core with a 266MHz front-side bus, an improvement over the 200MHz front side bus in older Durons. The chip was also built on AMD's 130-nanometer process technology, while older Durons were built on 180-nanometer process technology.
AMD plans to make the chips available through systems builders worldwide, but most of the demand would come from emerging markets, the spokesperson said.
The new Durons would only be available in quantities of 1000 processors through distributors such as Avnet.
Pricing for the new Durons was only available through Avnet, the spokesperson said.
AMD is expected to launch the Athlon 64 processor on September 23 in San Francisco. One of the first 64-bit processors released for desktops, the Athlon 64 will be sold to a very different group of users than the Durons.
Only high-end gamers and some workstation users are expected to make use of the Athlon 64 right away, as not many operating systems or applications are available that can take advantage of the processor's 64-bit capabilities.