Intel, AMD Juice Up Chips for Value PCs

The two leading PC chip makers this week offered a power boost to buyers who make up whats considered the "price conscious" market.

Intel Corp. cranked up the performance of its Celeron product line with its release Wednesday of a 1.2GHz chip. Celeron processors are designed for use in low-cost PCs, typically viewed as those costing less than $800, as opposed to Intels top-performing Pentium 4 processors, available in speeds up to 2GHz, which are sold in mid- to high-end priced systems.

The new processor is the first Celeron built using the Santa Clara, Calif., companys new 0.13-micron manufacturing process, which enables the chip maker to build smaller and faster microprocessors.

The chip features a larger on-die memory, which will help boost overall performance. In particular, Intel increased the size of the chips Level 2 cache from 128KB to 256KB.

The 1.2GHz Celeron is priced at $103 in 1,000-unit quantities.

Intels release came one day after rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc. announced a faster version of its Duron chip, the Sunnyvale, Calif., companys product line aimed at what it calls the value segment of the market.

The 1.1GHz Duron features a smaller on-die memory than the 1.2GHz Celeron, totaling only 192KB, but the chip features a 200MHz front-side bus, which can move data twice as fast as the Celerons 100MHz bus.

The 1.1GHz Duron is coincidentally priced at the same level as Intels newest Celeron, or $103 in 1,000-unit quantities.

Next week, AMD will launch its successor to its top-performing processor line, the new Athlon XP 1800, a 1.5GHz chip that the chip maker contends will outperform Pentium 4 processors clocked at higher speeds.