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How AMD beat Intel to 1GHz chip

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Analysis Intel has clearly lost the PR war it has engaged in with AMD to bring a 1GHz x86 microprocessor to the market first. Earlier on this week, we reported that Intel has plans to trickle out a 1GHz microprocessor, although the press relations division declined to confirm or deny that point. We reported yesterday that the likely dribble of Intel's 1GHz chip was the eighth of this month. But the news we reported earlier on this morning that AMD was to ship 1GHz microprocessors to a tier one company during March will send a clear message to Intel that "paper launches" of processors is not enough. Although our understanding now, thanks to our colleagues at Tec Channel who followed up our story, is that the 1GHz microprocessors will use aluminium interconnects and be fabbed at AMD's Austin plant, we had heard as early as October last year that the company was happy with its execution and, even then, could deliver 1GHz technology. This is in German but gives further AMD confirmation of the fact. One OEM will ship GHz PCs in March. Although not giving the name, he pointed out that Compaq and Gateway showed near-mass-production-units at CeBIT at AMDs booth with 1 GHz. They were then still labeled "technical demonstrations", according to Tec Channel. This is highly embarrassing for Intel, considering that up until the introduction of the Athlon, it could clearly dictate the ground rules in the x.86 market. It is clear from the AMD FAQ in this morning's story that the company feels that it need no longer play by the same rules that in the past forced down the average selling prices (ASPs) of its chips and had a disastrous effect on its financial results. At the Intel Developer Forum last month, that company scored a PR coup when it announced its Willamette processor, which, rather strangely, was misreported in many places as if the processor was actually introduced. Long-time readers will recall that both Intel and AMD have played this clock speed demo game for quite some time. Does the fact that there are 1GHz chips out there mean a great deal? Obviously, those able to afford such a system and who want a maxed-up machine, will go for the option. But that old pesky software is always clogging up this raw computing power, and however fast chips get, the likes of Microsoft are always going to come along and slow things down. A 550MHz Intel system we have at home truly rockets along using old DOS versions of Paradox and Word, for example. Well, maybe it's time for old Intel to stop banging on about raw microprocessor speed. It's no longer relevant to its business model. And while Intel may be slightly down, it's far from out for the count. Jerry Sanders III, AMD's CEO observed a few years back, "Only real men have fabs". He's got a couple, but Intel's has 16 manufacturing facilities, five at .18 micron and two more planned. If the company begins to execute as well as it used to, that makes its CEO, Craig Barrett, a much bigger man... ® See also AMD 1GHz Athlon arrives this month -- official Intel to dribble out 1GHz Cumine this month

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