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Does Sempron herald end of Athlon XP?

Up to the market, says new AMD roadmap

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What does today's Sempron launch mean for AMD's original 32-bit processor, the Athlon XP, and its mobile sibling, the Athlon XP-M?

According to AMD, it will continue to sell both types of XP into 2005, but it admits that the chips' future is under continual evaluation.

The prognosis is not good. AMD roadmaps now show both XP and XP-M out into the second half of 2005, but with the dreaded words 'As market requires' appended. That's how the Duron family ended up, and while it is still possible to buy them, they've essentially been relegated to emerging markets. It seems likely the XP and XP-M will go the same way.

Interestingly, AMD's roadmap now list once upcoming XP and XP-M chips as future Sempron parts. 'Georgetown' is now the 90nm successor to today's 130nm Mobile Semprons for desktop replacement laptops. Similarly, 'Sonora' is the 90nm low-power Mobile Sempron.

'Palermo', once the 90nm successor to today's 130nm Athlon XP and its immediate follow-on, the 130nm 'Paris', is now the future of Sempron desktops. Paris, due H2 2004, is almost certainly the foundation of the Socket 754 Semprons.

Not that the loss of Athlon XP is any great surprise. Having been pushed downmarket by Athlon 64, it might have had a place as a low-end alternative to Intel's Celeron. But having once been positioned as a high-end chip, it's hard to re-cast it in such a lowly role. Better to use it as the foundation of a new CPU brand that customers will always think of as budget processor line, not one that has seen better days. And that's essentially what AMD has done with Sempron. ®

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