Mobile AMD Athlon XP to hit streets in May

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) today announced that the first laptops based on its mobile Athlon XP processor will begin shipping early next month in Europe and Japan. However, the company did not say when notebooks based on the new chip would be available in the U.S.

AMD began shipments of the 1400+ and 1500+ versions of the processor during the first quarter, the Sunnyvale, California, company said. Laptops based on the 1600+ and 1700+ versions of the processor are expected to be available later this quarter, it said.

The first laptops based on the mobile AMD Athlon XP processor are expected to ship in Japan from Sharp Corp. The company will release its Mebius PC-GP1-C7H notebook, which is based on the new processor, on May 1, the Tokyo company said Wednesday. Based on the 1400+ version of the chip, the machine includes 256M bytes of memory and a 40G-byte hard disk drive and will retail for around ¥230,000 (US$1,750).

The price represents a ¥20,000 premium on a second new machine, the PC-GP1-C7M, which will launch in May and is based on an AMD 1.0GHz Mobile Duron processor but otherwise identical.

Sharp's release of the PC-GP1-C7H will be followed later this quarter by notebooks from Epson Direct Corp., which is expected to ship notebook PCs based on the new processor in Japan, and NEC Computers International BV's Packard Bell division, which plans to ship notebooks based on the chip in Europe, according to AMD.

The mobile Athlon XP is AMD's first processor that is manufactured using a 0.13-micron process rather than the 0.18-micron process the company uses to produce other versions of its Athlon processor line, the company said. The more advanced production process allows the production of smaller chips that consume less power, run faster and cost less.

The mobile AMD Athlon XP processor is Socket A and pin compatible with AMD's mobile processors manufactured using the 0.18-micron process. The new chips add support for a 266MHz front-side bus. A low-power version of the mobile AMD Athlon XP processor is sampling now, AMD said.

The 1400+ version of the mobile AMD Athlon XP processor is priced at US$190 in 1,000-unit quantities.

(Martyn Williams in Tokyo contributed to this report.)

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