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AMD fights back with new chips

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) chose Hanover as the place to stage its fightback following the series of chip announcements flowing from arch-rival Intel last month, writes Eric Doyle.

Against the background of Hewlett-Packard airing a four-way Intel McKinley server and Intel launching its multiprocessor version of the Xeon chip, AMD tripped out three new Athlon processors spanning the server to laptop range.

The new chips comprise the Athlon MP 2000+ for servers and workstations, the XP 2100+ for desktop PCs, and the Mobile Athlon 4 1600+ for notebooks.

Hardware manufacturers immediately backed the chips, with Compaq, Fujitsu-Siemens and NEC launching desktop PCs based on the technology; Racksaver and Boxx Technologies supporting the Athlon MP; and Compaq promising a laptop when the mobile Athlon 4 chip becomes available.

The Athlon MP 2000+ processor is aimed at one-way or two-way servers. It uses AMD's Smart MP technology, which is claimed to enhance overall performance by improving data between the two CPUs, chipset and memory system.

As the names of these chips attest, the company is persevering with its own chip power measurement system, which gives a chip-to-chip comparison of performance rather than a raw megahertz value. The Athlon XP runs at 1.73GHz, the Athlon 4 is rated at 1.4GHz, and the Athlon MP reaches 1.67GHz.

Intel's Xeon MP processors are four-way versions of the recently announced two-way Xeon chips. They run at 1.4MHz, 1.5MHz and 1.6MHz and can carry up to 1Mbyte of Level 3 cache.

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