AMD Releases 800-MHz Athlon, Matches Intel's Speed

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) announced today that it has matched competitor Intel's fastest processor by releasing a new 800-MHz AMD Athlon processor of its own.

The announcement comes more than two weeks after Intel released its 800-MHz Pentium III processor, which surpassed the then-best 750-MHz processor offered by AMD. Both companies have been jockeying for months trying to offer the fastest chip on the market, with the short-term goal of being the first to produce a successfully tested 1-GHz processor.

Both companies have been able to produce 1-GHz processors, but neither can make one that runs at that speed at room temperature. Intel had supposedly pulled ahead of AMD in the race to 1 GHz, but Thursday's announcement puts AMD back into a dead-even speed heat with Intel.

The processor race has kicked into a higher gear since both companies moved from 0.25-micron technology to the smaller 0.18-micron aluminum manufacturing technology. The smaller process shrinks the size of the processor die, which enables faster processor speeds and lowers power consumption, according to analysts.

In February, Intel will present a paper on the feasibility of a 1-GHz chip at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in Palm Springs, Calif., Intel officials said.

In a statement released by AMD Thursday, it also announced that big-name OEMs Compaq and IBM have already made available select computers based on the new Athlon processors. The 800-MHz AMD Athlon processor is priced at $849 in 1,000-unit quantities, company officials said.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc., in Sunnyvale, Calif., is at http://www.amd.com.

Intel Corp., in Santa Clara, Calif., is at http://www.intel.com.

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