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The prices AMD is setting for its Athlon XP processors is turning at least one system builder away from the chip.

Having lost Gateway and Tiny from its roster of system builders, AMD must be concerned about losing more. We've got an email from one decent sized player saying: "I am VERY disappointed. Their prices are well over the top - almost exactly same as P4 (PR rating equivalents). On the basis that they dropped their standard Athlon prices too much (Athlon 1.4 = US$112) you can't release a new core (with not a significant improvement) for another $40 more."

The PR rating bit refers to the equivalent performance measure of AMD chips against Intel - AMD supporting system builders and AMD themselves say that an AMD chip matches or betters the performance of an Intel processor with a clock speed 300MHz faster.

If the system builder is paying $112 for a 1.4GHz Athlon, he's getting a reasonable volume price. We've been quoted two sets of OEM prices, one a lot more attractive than the other.

  • XP 1500+ $115 or $124
  • XP 1600+ $124 or $152
  • XP 1700+ $152 or $180
  • XP 1800+ $210 or $238

Tahir Mohsan, MD of UK system builder Time, said AMD's pricing was competitive so we assume he's paying the lower amount.

He also felt the naming strategy was good. The AMD chips are called XP 1500+ etc to suggest their level of performance rather than specifically say what the clock speed is.

The clock speeds of the chips are:

  • XP 1500+ 1.33GHz
  • XP 1600+ 1.4GHz
  • XP 1700+ 1.47GHz
  • XP 1800+ 1.53GHz


Mohsan likened clock speeds to the RPM's of washing machine drums. "No one gives a damn how fast they go round. The AMD chip names are a simpler guide to make things easier for consumers."

Rather than selling on specific machine specs the idea is to "give people a perception of value."

The Athlon XP ships on 9 October. ®

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