AMD speeds notebooks

The chip company, facing intense competition and a stagnant market, is to focus increasingly on mobile chips

AMD has ramped up its mobile processor line, launching a 1.2GHz Athlon 4 and a 950MHz Duron. In tough market conditions, AMD is betting on success in the mobile and server areas to increase its market share.

The processors will both be available later this quarter in the Presario 700 series of laptops.

The mobile Athlon 4 includes 384KB of on-chip memory cache, including 128KB of level-one cache on the processor die, as well as 3DNow multimedia instructions and PowerNow power management. It uses AMD's Socket A infrastructure with a 200MHz front-side bus. The Duron includes 192KB of on-chip cache.

The new Athlon 4 costs $525 (about £367) and the Duron costs $160 in quantities of 1,000.

Chief executive Jerry Sanders said at AMD's recent annual analyst meeting that the company will be relying on notebooks and servers to continue to grow in 2002.

Later in the fourth quarter, AMD said will come out with a 1.3GHz Athlon and a 1.2GHz Duron for notebooks.

The first quarter will mark the appearance of the first Athlon and Duron notebook chips adopting the so-called model-number brand scheme, which downplays megahertz. In the first quarter, an 1800 Athlon for notebooks will come out, which is likely to run at 1.5GHz, as will a 1500 Duron, which will probably run at 1.3GHz. In the second quarter, a 1900 Athlon for notebooks will emerge.

All of these chips will be based on the processor cores of Thoroughbred, or Appaloosa, a discount version of Thoroughbred.

These new chips will also consume less heat than current AMD notebooks chips. Combined with new packaging, the new chips will allow AMD to break out of the "desktop replacement" segment of the notebook market and get into the increasingly popular "thin and light" notebooks, said Dirk Meyer, group vice president of the computing products group.

CNET News.com's Michael Kannellos contributed to this report.

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