Intel, AMD launch faster microprocessors

By Matthew Fordahl AP Technology Writer
Monday January 07, 2002

SAN JOSE – Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. on Monday are launching the fastest models yet of their flagship processors, the electronic brains of personal computers. 

Intel’s new top Pentium 4 chips run at 2.2 gigahertz and 2 GHz, or 2.2 and 2 billion of cycles per second. AMD’s latest, the Athlon XP 2000+, clocks in at 1.67 GHz. 

Despite the speed difference, AMD has claimed its Athlons have more efficient architectures and perform better than faster Intel chips running the most popular applications. 

But Intel’s new chips are the first to be built using a new process that allows smaller transistors and other features, doubled on-board memory and a 30 percent reduction in overall processor size. 

The result is a roughly 10 percent performance boost beyond the gain from bumping up the processor speed, said Louis Burns, general manager of Intel’s Desktop Platform Group. 

“It’s the beginning of an architecture, not the extension of an old architecture, which some people are doing in the marketplace,” he said. 

Analysts also expect the new process technology to help Intel meet demand for the Pentium 4 as well as improve profit margins by increasing the number of chips from each silicon wafer. 

“The cost structure is better. And they’ll get more performance out of them,” said Hans Mosesmann, an analyst at Prudential Securities. “It’s a very good deal for Intel.” 

Intel’s previous top chip was the 2 GHz Pentium 4, which was introduced in August. It was built using the older process technology. 

The 2.2 GHz Pentium 4 will cost $562 when purchased in volumes of 1,000. The new 2 GHz chip is priced at $364. The Athlon XP 2000+ costs $339.