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AMD unveils low-power chip

Advanced Micro Devices has begun sampling its Alchemy Au1100 processor, a low-power chip designed for mobile and handheld...

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Advanced Micro Devices has begun sampling its Alchemy Au1100 processor, a low-power chip designed for mobile and handheld devices.

The Au1100 is a follow-on chip to the Au1000 processor that AMD acquired when it bought Alchemy Semiconductor in February, an acquisition seen by analysts as an important step for the company to break out of its traditional focus on desktop and mobile PC processors into the market for embedded processors used in handheld devices, such as PDAs.

Able to run at speeds ranging from 333MHz to 500MHz, the Au1100 includes a MIPS32 processor core, an on-chip LCD (liquid crystal display) controller, a 10/100 Ethernet controller and a USB (Universal Serial Bus) device and host controller.

The processor is able to run a variety of operating systems commonly found on handheld devices, including Microsoft's Windows CE, Linux and Wind River Systems' VxWorks, AMD said.

The 400MHz version of the chip is priced at $29.50 in quantities of 10,000.

Both Intel and AMD see great potential in the market for low-power, high-performance chips used in handheld computing devices.

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