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AMD updates desktop chip designs

The processors are based on a new socket that lets AMD-based PCs use faster memory chips, virtualization technology.

Advanced Micro Devices on Tuesday unveiled desktop chips based on its AM2 socket, setting the stage for future products based on a new architecture.

The new chips are the Athlon 64 FX-62, which becomes AMD's highest-performance desktop chip, and the Athlon 64 X2 5000+, the new leader of AMD's mainstream desktop segment. The chips add support for the standard and virtualization technology.

AMD has already said it doesn't expect a huge performance gain from the move to DDR2 memory. The chipmaker is making modest advances to its chip design strategy this year, as it gets ready for chips in 2007 based on a new architecture that will use four processing cores and faster HyperTransport interconnects.

Companies shipping PCs based on the new processors include Hewlett-Packard, Alienware, Fujitsu-Siemens and Lenovo. The FX-62 processor costs $1,031, while the X2 5000+ processor costs $696, in quantities of 1,000 units. More details are available on AMD's Web site.

AMD is releasing the chips about two months before Intel plans to launch Conroe, a desktop processor based on its Core architecture. Conroe is expected to be a major improvement over Intel's current desktop processors. AMD plans to reveal more details about its strategy for combating Conroe at a meeting next week for analysts.