Advanced Micro Devices has unveiled its new low-cost Sempron processors with plans to sell the chips in low-cost systems to developing countries and mature PC markets.
Sempron processors are designed to eventually replace the Athlon XP, AMD's seventh-generation processor, and immediately replace Duron, the low-cost chip still sold into some emerging markets.
The Sempron chips are based on either the seventh-generation Athlon XP core or the eighth-generation Athlon 64 core, although none of the chips have the 64-bit capabilities of the Athlon 64 processors.
The basic computing needs of users are changing as multimedia capabilities become an intrinsic part of PCs, said Bahr Mahony, mobile marketing manager for AMD.
However, those same users have no need for the 64-bit capabilities provided by the Athlon 64, and are not willing to pay a premium for that technology, he said.
Sempron is designed to provide a little more performance than some of AMD's older value processors, but at prices that will keep basic PC costs as low as possible.
AMD will release desktop and notebook versions of Sempron. Desktop PCs will be available from Lenovo this week, and Hewlett-Packard and Acer will release systems worldwide with Sempron processors in the third quarter. The chips will be available from multiple suppliers by the fourth quarter.
AMD also hopes the chips will outperform Intel's Celeron D processors, Mahony said. Just like Celeron D, Sempron chips are virtually the same as their full-featured counterparts, but come with less cache for storing frequently accessed data close to the processor.
The six Sempron chips based on the seventh-generation core come with 256Kbytes of Level 2 cache, half the amount of Level 2 cache found on the Athlon XP chips. They range in clock speed from 1.5GHz to 2GHz, and will be assigned model numbers between 2200+ and 2800+.
The Sempron chip based on AMD's eighth-generation technology will come with several features that Celeron processors lack, including the No Execute virus protection technology enabled by Microsoft's forthcoming Windows XP Service Pack.
It runs at 1.6GHz and comes with 256Kbytes of Level 2 cache, less than the 1Mbytes of Level 2 cache on some Athlon 64 chips or the 512Kbytes on the Newcastle Athlon 64 chips. That earned this chip a model number rating of 3100+.
Five mobile Sempron chips are for low-cost notebook systems. AMD will have two categories of mobile chips based on power consumption. One category of mobile Sempron chips for full-sized notebooks will consume 62W of power under maximum conditions, and a separate category for thin-and-light notebooks will consume 25W under maximum conditions.
The mobile chips are based on the Athlon 64 core, but do not have 64-bit capability.
Pricing information for the new chips has yet to be released.
Tom Krazit writes for IDG News Service