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AMD readies low-cost Sempron CPUs

Names new, post-Duron value brand

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Update AMD has decided what it's going to call its upcoming value-market microprocessors: Sempron.

Both desktop and notebook parts will be offered under the new brand name and shipments will commence sometime during the second half of the year, AMD said today. It will also provide details of Sempron internal workings and pricing around the same time. If earlier reports of the addition of a value line of processors to AMD's internal roadmap are anything to go by, the first Semprons should launch sometime next quarter.

The new CPU line is said to feature a new model numbering scheme that will replace the XP's performance ratings with a three-digit code starting with 2xx. Interestingly, the Socket 754 and 939 parts begin at 3xx, allowing them to be placed alongside Intel's new Celeron 3xx model numbers.

AMD says such reports were "inaccurate". The company would not be drawn on what the model numbers - or otherwise - will be.

In essence, Sempron replaces AMD's Duron brand. Athlon 64 will continue to be AMD's performance line, underpinned by the mainstream-oriented Athlon XP, with Sempron sitting below that.

The Athlon XP line is expected to transition to AMD's Athlon 64 architecture during the second half of the year, but it's not yet clear whether Sempron will do the same. AMD's statement suggests Sempron will, like Athlon XP, only support 32-bit processing. The next generation of the XP, the 130nm Paris, is believed to be an Athlon 64 core with AMD64 support disabled and backed by just 256KB of L2 cache.

Whatever, Sempron is likely to be a major part of AMD's attempts to pitch its processors at emerging geographical markets, such as Latin America, China and Eastern Europe, rather than Western buyers.

Bootnote

Detail wonks may be interested to learn that AMD filed its Sempron trademark application on 12 May, and that it's the phrase 'AMD Sempron' that is trademarked, rather than the processor's name per se. The reason: there already is a Sempron out there - it's a pharamaceutical research company.

AMD also filed to protect the brand names 'Forton', 'Adepton', 'Cerus' and 'Tegron'. Whether these are real products - or simply names to fool would-be brand-name hunters - isn't clear. It's possible they were all names considered by AMD and filed just in case they were chosen.

Similar names were registered - but have since lapsed - for the then-as-yet-unlaunched Opteron: Forton, Metaron, Multeon and Vanton. Alereon appears to have been a possible alternative to Athlon. ®

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