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AMD kicks up its chip speeds

Advanced Micro Devices releases two processors: a 1.4GHz chip aimed at the high-end PC market and a 950MHz chip for the budget computer market.

Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices released on Wednesday two processors aimed at different ends of the PC market.

The new 1.4GHz Athlon will target the high-end PC market, where sales have languished this year as consumers focus on machines in the $800 to $1,200 range. The 950MHz Duron will be aimed at the budget PC market.

As previously reported, the 1.4GHz Athlon still gives rival Intel a lead in the chip-speed race, thanks to its new 1.7GHz Pentium 4. AMD has released numerous tests, however, that show the new Athlon apparently outperforming the 1.7GHz in common business and home applications.

The Athlon also is expected to benefit from working with fast double-data rate (DDR) memory, as opposed to the more expensive Rambus memory the Pentium 4 must use until new chipsets are released this year.

The 1.4GHz Athlon processor is priced at $253 when bought in volume. The 950MHz Duron will sell for $122 in volume.