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AMD to replace Duron with Athlon FX?

No dilution of Athlon XP brand

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Farewell, Duron. Hello, Athlon FX.

That's the name AMD will adopt for its future low-end processors, if unnamed sources cited by DigiTimes are anything to go by.

The Athlon FX will be based on the Thorton core, essentially a version of the top-end Athlon XP's Barton core with half the cache: 256KB instead of 512KB.

Said sources claim AMD is already pumping the chips out, at 2000+ to 2600+ performance ratings. That's interesting, since the recently leaked AMD press schedule, which pinpointed upcoming Athlon 64 and faster Opteron chip launches appear not to have mentioned the FX.

And AMD roadmaps seen to date have tended to indicate that the Duron line has passed its sell-by date, with future products coming only if sufficient "market demand" is there. With the Athlon XP being driven further down-market by the launch of the Athlon 64, what's the need for Duron or a successor?

Thorton has appeared on previous AMD roadmaps as a low-end Athlon XP at 2600+, so AMD may simply want to rebrand the bottom-end part to prevent Athlon XP becoming seen as a low-end rather than mid-range processor. Then again, with the focus moving to Athlon 64 in all AMD's key desktop markets, does it actually need to worry about diluting the XP brand? Probably not, which suggests that Thorton and Athlon FX are not related.

Thorton-based XP's are expected late Q2/early Q3 - ie. round about now - so the comment about "volume production" may not be so far from the mark.

Come Q4, however, the sub-400MHz FSB Barton-based Athlon XP is expected to come down into what AMD defines as the 'value desktop' arena - current home of the Duron - so Thorton is likely to be a fairly short-term product, however it's branded. ®

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