AMD to release faster PC chips next week

The chips were available in a handful of stores in Tokyo's Akihabara electronics district on Friday. In common with initial sales of many new processors, the shops had yet to receive boxed versions of the chips and were selling the "tray" or "bulk" versions intended for PC makers and assemblers.

The 1.4GHz Athlon chip, aimed at high-performance PCs, was available for between 36,800 yen and 31,980 yen ($555 to $482) although these prices are expected to fall as supply increases. In the US, the chips will be available to end users priced between $US224 and $US266 ($430 to 436), at least three computer resellers said. The chip will surpass AMD's current fastest Athlon, launched in March, which runs at 1.33GHz. The 950MHz version of AMD's Duron family was available at one shop for 14,800 yen ($222). One US reseller said the new chip, aimed at entry-level PCs, will also be launched Thursday, priced at about $US116. The current fastest Duron runs at 900MHz and was launched in April. AMD declined to comment, although the company has scheduled a press conference next week at the giant Computex computer trade show in Taiwan.

The new Duron will extend AMD's speed lead over archrival Intel in the market for chips aimed at low-cost PCs -- Intel's fastest Celeron runs at 850MHz. However, in terms of clock speed AMD is still playing catch-up at the high end -- Intel launched a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 processor in April. Intel has also demonstrated a Pentium 4 running at 2GHz, in Taiwan last month.

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