AMD names low-cost processor Duron

UPDATE: Upcoming chip will compete with Celeron in budget space - meanwhile, AMD prepares to lay out plans for future

Updated Thu, 27 Apr 2000 10:00:00 GMT Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Thursday unveiled the brand name it has chosen for its next generation of low-cost microprocessors for consumer PCs: Duron. The chip was formerly code-named Spitfire. The processor will be positioned against larger rival Intel's Celeron in the market for sub-$1000 (about £620) PCs. The company also this week unveiled Corvette, the code-name for a mobile processor to be launched in the second half of the year. Thursday afternoon AMD is to hold an analysts' meeting in New York City in which it will outline its future plans. AMD said Duron was chosen to convey a "workhorse" image. "In choosing the AMD Duron product name, AMD wanted to convey the qualities that will prolong the life of the buyer's investment, specifically: dependability, reliability and stability," said Rob Herb, executive vice president at AMD, in a statement. Duron is part of AMD's long-term plan to move from old-style alphanumeric names, like K-6, to "alpha" names, which are seen as being more consumer-friendly. "We've had great success with the Athlon brand, and we're hoping with Duron to establish a similarly strong brand in the value-conscious PC market." said AMD's European marketing director, Robert Stead. Corvette was formerly grouped with the performance chip technology code-named Mustang. Mustang and Corvette, set for release in the second half of the year, are improvements on the basic Athlon chip technology. The two will join Thunderbird, another revised Athlon to be released in the next few weeks, and Duron, which will also appear around midyear. The four chips lined up for this year, in brief:
    Mid-year:
  • Duron, a low-cost desktop processor
  • Thunderbird (code name), a performance desktop processor, which is expected to carry the Athlon brand name
    Second half:
  • Mustang (code name), a performance desktop processor based on Athlon
  • Corvette (code name), a performance mobile processor based on Athlon
The technology used in all the new chips derives from Athlon, introduced last October as AMD's first venture into the performance PC market. At its analysts' meeting Thursday afternoon, AMD is expected to recap its extraordinary successes of the last year and outline its plans for the future. Since introducing Athlon, AMD has had more success than many had expected in encroaching on Intel's turf in the mainstream PC market. At the same time, Intel has suffered production setbacks relating to the introduction of new manufacturing and packaging technology, allowing AMD to make further headway. The result has shown up on AMD's balance sheet and has attracted growing consumer interest. The chip upstart's next big test will be the introduction of Sledgehammer, an extension of the standard x86 chip architecture into the high-end market Intel hopes to dominate with its 64-bit platform, known as IA-64. Intel's chips will require users to buy specially-written software, whereas AMD is promising similar performance gains with the existing software base. What do you think? Tell the Mailroom. And read what others have said.

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