AMD today launched its low-end Athlon chip, Duron, which the company hopes will give it a much-needed share of the business market, where rival Intel has a stronghold.
The processor, which is aimed at desktop PCs that typically sell for less than $1000 (£660), is available in speeds of 700Mhz, 650Mhz and 600Mhz.
AMD claims that Duron provides up to 25 per cent more performance on many industry benchmarks than an Intel Celeron processor at the same clock speed.
The company has signed up vendors including Compaq, Fujitsu Siemens, Hewlett Packard, IBM and NEC to manufacture computers based on the new processors.
Although these manufacturers are so far only planning Duron-based systems aimed at the consumer market, AMD said it is confident that the chips would open the door to the business market - an area which has so far been dominated by Intel.
Richard Baker, regional marketing director for AMD's PC products division, said Duron "is where we're expecting to make our big push into the business market".
Industry analysts believe the chip is making its debut at a good time. Intel has suffered supply problems with its Pentium III range and has recently announced the delay of its latest low-end Celeron chip, Timna.
Martin Reynolds, senior analyst with research company Gartner, said that although the timing is good, AMD has a tough task ahead in persuading PC manufacturers to use its chips in corporate PCs.
"It is clear that AMD has a very strong position in the value-oriented PC market. It has the potential with Athlon to break into higher-performance PC markets, but it will take a lot of effort on the company's part to break through the corporate barrier," he said.
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