HP preparing Athlon64 3100+ desktop

Hewlett-Packard will be one of the first PC manufacturers to release a system with Advanced Micro Devices' (AMD's) 64-bit Athlon64 processor when it is released this September, according to a document on HP's Web site.

The HP t182k will use an Athlon64 processor with a model number of 3100+, according to a number of different hardware enthusiast Web sites, including AMDzone.com, that have posted a link to a document on HP's site.

Introducing the Athlon64 at a model number rating of 3100+ appears to indicate that the chip does not perform as well as AMD's current 32-bit Athlon XP 3200+ processor, released in May. The Athlon64 3100+ will have a clock speed of 1.8GHz and Level 2 cache of 1M bytes, according to the HP document. The Athlon XP 3200+ runs at 2.2GHz and comes with 640K bytes of level 2 cache.

Representatives from HP and AMD did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

AMD uses a model number system to indicate the performance of its processors. According to the company, the model number is based on the relative performance of the current chip to one based on an older processor core, but analysts have noted that AMD's model numbers proceed almost in lockstep with Intel's Pentium 4 frequency bumps, at least on the desktop side.

AMD is counting on the performance of the Athlon64 to help it compete against Intel's 90-nanometer Prescott processor, expected to launch in about September as well. The Athlon64 uses 64-bit extensions to x86 instruction set to address far greater amounts of memory than possible with a 32-bit chip.

The forthcoming HP PC will use a 8KT400M chipset from Via Technologies, and come with 256M bytes of PC2700 DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM), which runs at 333MHz. It will also use an 80G-byte hard drive, according to the document. Pricing information was not available.

At one point, most major PC vendors offered systems with AMD processors, but HP is currently the lone top-tier PC vendor to incorporate AMD's chips into its products. HP has released several desktops and notebooks with Athlon XP processors, most recently in early June.

AMD has delayed the launch of the Athlon64 twice to its present launch date of September. AMD has reserved space at the Moscone Center in San Francisco on Sept. 30, according to the event calendar posted on the Moscone Center's Web site.

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Tom Krazit

IDG News Service
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