AMD to release faster PC chips next week

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) is set to launch next Thursday a 1.4GHz version of its Athlon processor and a 950MHz version of its Duron processor, according to various industry sources.

The Athlon chip, aimed at high-performance PCs, will be available to end users priced between US$224 and $266, at least three computer resellers said. The chip will surpass AMD's current fastest Athlon launched in March, which runs at 1.33GHz.

One reseller said the 950MHz version of AMD's Duron family, aimed at entry-level PCs, would also be launched Thursday, priced at about $116. The current fastest Duron runs at 900MHz and was launched in April.

AMD declined to comment, although the company has scheduled a press conference next week at the giant Computex computer trade show in Taiwan.

The new Duron will extend AMD's speed lead over arch rival Intel in the market for chips aimed at low-cost PCs -- Intel's fastest Celeron runs at 850MHz. However, in terms of clock speed AMD is still playing catch-up at the high end -- Intel launched a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 processor in April.

Intel has also demonstrated a Pentium 4 running at 2GHz, in Taiwan last month.

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