AMD officially unveiled the Duron processor on Monday, but the chipmaker's big-name partners, such as Compaq Computer, have yet to announce their offerings. AMD has said it expects shipments from major computer vendors to start next month.
Meanwhile, Amazon is touting the auctions prominently with mention at the top of the front page of the online retailer's Web site. The computers themselves come from Total Peripherals, a Northboro, Mass.-based PC maker.
The Duron uses the same core as AMD's higher-end Athlon chip but is aimed at the low-cost PC market targeted by Intel's Celeron processor. The processor will initially run at speeds of 600 MHz, 650 MHz and 700 MHz and will target PCs ranging in price from $899 to $1,199, AMD said.
Part of the lag between AMD's announcement and the widespread availability of computers comes from a lack of motherboards and other components needed to incorporate the chip into PCs. The Duron is packaged in a socketed form that attaches directly to a motherboard, while the Athlon was sold as part of a cartridge. The different packaging requires new motherboard designs.
Total Peripherals president Rex Chen said he has Duron systems ready to ship now, with the first auction due to close at the end of the week. That means the first systems should be in consumers' hands by next week.
In the coming weeks, Chen plans to add fixed-price sales through sites such as Egghead.com.
The prominent placement on Amazon's site is a joint effort by the retailer, AMD and Total Peripherals. Chen declined to say who was covering the promotional costs of the deal, but said that his company plans to make money on the auctions, which have starting bid prices of $1.
"We are very happy that this is happening," Chen said. "The exposure is tremendous."
Chen said his company has been working with AMD for months to prepare its Duron systems.
"We have a leading technology," Chen said. "We want to ship product as soon as it's announced."