AMD today revealed its new 1Ghz mobile chip, the Athlon 4. Despite the lack of an Athlon 2 or 3, the company is insisting that the new chip is the fourth version of Athlon, and not just a cosmetic name change to allow it to better market the chip against Intel's Pentium 4.
Whatever, the new Athlon 4 will come in four speeds: 1Ghz, 950Mhz, 900Mhz and 850Mhz, with Compaq the first to integrate it into its Presario range of notebooks. Prices, when bought in lots of a thousand, are $425, $350, $270 and $240, respectively.
Codenamed Palomino, the Athlon 4 contains a number of improvements. Most importantly, it will consume 20 per cent less power than the current offering, providing up to 30 per cent more battery life.
Analysts have said that this is important. "Higher performance notebooks can return both a longer useful life and greater productivity to their users, and can deliver real value to users who would otherwise require a desktop," said Martin Reynolds, research fellow at Gartner Dataquest.
"Thermal management and battery life are also critical attributes that, to hit the mainstream market, must not be compromised," he added.
The chip shares the same Socket A packaging system and cache sizes, as well as a 200Mhz front-side bus, with a desktop chip, as well as AMD's PowerNow technology which lowers the clock speed and the voltage of the Athlon 4 depending on how much power a running application needs.
The 1Ghz Athlon 4 will be able to scale down to 500Mhz if it needs to, and runs at voltages of 1.2V to 1.4V.
AMD also announced a new version of its mobile Duron chip on Monday, based on a similar new processor core, codenamed Morgan.
The new Duron will offer speeds of 850Mhz and 800Mhz, priced at $197 and $170, respectively, each in 1000-unit quantities.
They feature the same enhancements as the Athlon 4, but with a smaller cache size causing it to run 10 to 15 per cent slower than the Athlon chips. The Durons will be installed into Compaq notebooks later in the year.
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