AMD cuts Athlon prices by up to 18 percent

Advanced Micro Devices has dropped prices on its flagship Athlon chip by up to 18 percent

The decision by the chip maker was in response to arch-rival Intel's Pentium III chip launch and corresponding price reductions.For customers, AMD's price cuts make its Athlon chip somewhat more affordable than Intel's latest Pentium III chips, running at the same clockspeed.

AMD's largest price reduction came on the 700MHz Athlon chip, whose price was slashed by 18 percent from £509 to £419. AMD's 650MHz Athlon was reduced from £369 to £311, a 16 percent price cut, company officials said.

Smaller cuts were made on Athlon 600MHz and 550MHz chips. The Athlon 600 fell from £299 to £251, a 7 percent reduction. The Athlon 550 chip was cut by 8 percent from £182 to £167. AMD held the price of the 500MHz Athlon steady at £125. These prices are for smaller quantities of 1,000 units or more, the officials said.

Intel on Monday introduced 15 Pentium III chips for desktops, notebooks, workstations and servers, including nine desktop Pentium III chips. Pricing on those chips ranges from £143 for the 500MHz Pentium III (designated with an E to distinguish it from the existing 500MHz Pentium III) to £465 for the 733MHz Pentium III.

By way of comparison, the new £419 price of the 700MHz Athlon makes that chip £33 cheaper than Intel's 700MHz Pentium III, which is priced at £452. The 650MHz Athlon, with its £311 price, is £38 cheaper than Intel's £349 650MHz Pentium III chip.

Intel's latest Pentium IIIs, code-named Coppermine, are based on a 0.18 micron manufacturing process. To make way for those chips, Intel cut prices on existing Pentium IIIs, which are based on a 0.25 micron manufacturing process. Among those price cuts, the largest was on the 600MHz Pentium III chip, which was reduced by 24 percent, from £369 to £279. The 550MHz Pentium III chip fell from £253 to £208, an 18 percent drop. Intel's 533MHz Pentium III was lowered by 14 percent from £221 to £189.

Intel's 500MHz and 450MHz Pentium III chips were reduced by 9 percent and 6 percent to £137 and £103, respectively. Intel also reduced the prices of its 450MHz Pentium II desktop by £6 to £103, a 6 percent drop. Desktop Celeron chip prices were reduced by between 5 and 8 percent. The largest cut came on its 433MHz Celeron chip, which was reduced by £3.6 to £43.8, an 8 percent cut.

The Athlon chip, which is supported by the AMD 750 chip set's 200MHz system bus, is available in desktops, such as the Presario 5900Z from Compaq Computer and IBM's Aptiva S800 series.