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AMD's Sempron marches on China

Lenovo is first to add new 64-bit chip to its desktop offerings, but company did not say which line will sport the chips.

Chinese PC maker Lenovo Group will be the first company to use AMD's new 64-bit Sempron microprocessors in its desktop products, a representative with Advanced Micro Devices said this week.

As previously reported, AMD announced plans to extend 64-bit processing capability to its entire microprocessor product line. Sixty-four bit chips can process some functions faster and easily accommodate more than 4GB of memory. More memory generally equals better performance, although most PCs today only come with 512MB to 1GB of memory.

Sempron is considered AMD's entry-level desktop processor and is usually its least expensive. AMD is offering five versions of the chip: 2600+, 2800+, 3000+, 3100+ and 3300+, which are priced at $74, $83, $98, $113 and $140, respectively.

The announcement comes two weeks after Intel released its Celeron D processor, a direct competitor to AMD's Sempron.

While many analysts have dismissed the idea that mainstream computer users are ready for 64-bit computing, AMD said its customers are asking for the technology even in low-end systems. The company cites the recent release of the Windows XP x64 Edition operating system from Microsoft as proof that the market is ready.

AMD says the new Sempron chips also come with Microsoft Service Pack 2-compatible virus protection, faster connections with the rest of the computer and improved graphics capabilities.

Lenovo, which purchased IBM's legendary PC unit for $1.75 billion earlier this year, did not say whether it would use the AMD processors in its ThinkCentre and TianJiao A Series or perhaps a new breed of desktop computers.

Considered the third-largest PC maker, behind Dell and Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo is expected to buy more than $4.3 billion worth of chips in 2005 pushing it into ninth place on the world's largest buyers of semiconductors, according to market research firm iSuppli. Last year, Lenovo bought $1 billion in chips, securing it the 36th spot on the list.