AMD revs ahead with 1.2-GHz Athlon

The 1.2-GHz chip follows AMD's recent introduction of the 1.1-GHz Athlon; it continues to forge ahead while Intel's Pentium III chip development is stalled at 1 GHz, and the company's much-hyped Pentium 4 -- launching at 1.4 and 1.5 GHz--isn't expected until late November.

Despite the widening speed gap between the Athlon and the Pentium III, few major vendors are announcing systems touting what may be the world's fastest desktop processor at its launch. Gateway Computer is offering 1.2-GHz Athlon systems in the US immediately, but other vendors with Athlon lines, such as Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Computer, have yet to announce systems using the 1.2-GHz processor.

Gateway builds its Select line to order but also offers a featured 1.2-GHz Select 1200 PC priced at $US2499. The system includes 128MB of SDRAM, an NVidia GeForce2 Ultra video card with 64MB of memory, a 60GB hard drive, a 19-inch monitor, a 16X/40X DVD drive, a home networking/56kbps modem card, Microsoft Windows Me, and Microsoft Works 2000.

High-Speed Holidays

Despite the limited vendor support at launch, the 1.2-GHz Athlon is important because it puts AMD in a good position heading into the Christmas shopping season, according to Linley Gwennap, principal analyst at The Linley Group.

While Intel's delayed P4 is expected soon, and it should perform faster than the Athlon, the chip will likely be in short supply and expensive at first, Gwennap says. If AMD can supply enough high-speed Athlons, the company should be able to satisfy customers demanding high-speed systems for the holidays, he says.

Athlon has won AMD much wider consumer acceptance, Gwennap says. Customers who wouldn't have considered AMD over Intel just a year or six months ago are now interested in buying Athlon systems, he says.

AMD is hoping Athlon can also win more business customers in coming months, says Mark Bode, division marketing manager. Business buyers are traditionally more conservative than consumers and small businesses.

AMD is encouraging PC vendors to use Athlon CPUs in business systems, not only in home PCs, Bode says. The company is also touting the chip's stability and its very release in the face of its competitor's recent delays.

"It [Athlon] is available, it's scalable, and it's reliable," Bode says.

Faster Durons Ship, Too

AMD is also increasing the speed of its value-priced Duron processor to 800 MHz. Duron competes with Intel's Celeron processor. The Duron's 200-MHz front side bus is also significantly faster than the current Celeron's 66-MHz bus.

The Duron actually competes with both Intel's Celeron and its low-end PIII products, Bode says. AMD maintains that Duron systems with discrete graphics cards often compare favourably in price and performance to PIII systems with Intel's 810E chip set with integrated graphics. Despite a slow start that saw few major vendors offering Duron-based systems at launch, Bode says the chip is catching on. Nearly 100 systems vendors around the world are planning Duron-based systems, and US consumers should be able to buy Duron-based systems at retail stores during the Christmas season, he says.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Mainelli

PC World

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?