Athlon64 family to grow

Advanced Micro Devices will use cache memory in somewhat novel ways to broaden out its desktop chip line, including its upcoming Athlon64 processor, according to sources.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chipmaker will launch the Athlon64 with performance ratings of 3400+ and 3100+ in September and then crank the top performance rating up to 3700+ in the fourth quarter, according to sources. By the end of next year, the performance rating is expected to rise to 4300+. Ratings roughly correspond to the clock speeds of Intel chips, so that a 3100+ chip is more or less equivalent to a 3.2GHz Pentium 4.

In addition, AMD is apparently looking at changes to its existing Athlon XP line of processors. It is considering a plan where it would not raise the performance rating on these chips, but instead would change their underlying architecture--especially cache--to reduce manufacturing costs.

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