Advanced Micro Devices has more than one reason and hope for its new 'Athlon' processor. Athlon (codenamed K7) is aimed at the higher end of the market, which will help AMD shrug its poor-cousin image and also place it in a profitable segment of the market. AMD has lined up Athlon against the P-III chip from rival Intel, to renew its battle begun with the recent K-6 launch (see 'Chip launches').
AMD has been known for its cheaper range of processors (up to 25 per cent cheaper than Intel's) which serve the low end market where margins are perpetually under a squeeze. AMD is banking on the Athlon chip to propel it to the more profitable high end market, boost its margins and profits and shrug off its low end image.
The K6 is the chip sitting in nine out of 10 PCs of the top tier PC vendors, in the global 'sub- $1,000' market. Now, with the Athlon chip, AMD plans to extend its turf and take on Intel directly at the high end of the market, which has high power computing requirements and offers higher margins. The details about Athlon are impressive:
processor speed of 600 megahertz
about 9 per cent faster than P III of similar speed
21 per cent faster in graphic tests (running 3-dimensional modelling software)
A faster version, to be announced soon, will 'out-speed' the fastest Pentium III.
This chip is priced at $ 249 for the 500 megahertz version, $615 for the 600 megahertz version and $849 for the 650 megahertz version. PCs running on these chips will be priced between $1,499 and $ 2,699.
IBM and Compaq have already announced that they will be shipping PCs with this processor within a month.
also see : Chip launches