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AMD speeds up budget processor

The chipmaker bumps up the top speed of its budget Duron processor to 750 MHz, although few of the chips at any speed have found their way into big-name computers.

    Advanced Micro Devices today bumped up the top speed of its budget Duron processor to 750 MHz, although few of the chips at any speed have found their way into big-name computers.

    About 20 PC makers plan to use the new chip, AMD said, but the only major name currently offering the chip in the United States is Fujitsu Siemens. Compaq Computer and Gateway plan to use the Duron, but not in their current back-to-school lineups.

    AMD executives have conceded that the Duron, which was introduced in mid-June, won't find its way into most PC makers' lineups until October. That's when the models aimed at the holiday buying season begin showing up on retail shelves.

    Nonetheless, today's move does up the ante in AMD's low-end processor battle with Intel. Intel's fastest Celeron tops out at 700 MHz.

    Though AMD may lose some market share in the low end, analysts have said that the company would be foolish to push Duron when it is selling so well using most of its capacity for higher-profit Athlon chips.

    "They'd be crazy to say, 'Let's not make $600 chips; let's make $150 chips,'" MicroDesign Resources analyst Peter Glaskowsky said last month.

    The 750-MHz Duron processor is priced at $181 when purchased in 1,000-unit quantities. Existing Duron chips are priced to match Intel's comparable Celeron chip.