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Thu 30 Jun 2005 04:00 AM

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CPU makers prompt 64-bit value war

PC upgraders on a budget can now start reaping the benefits of 64-bit computing, as AMD and Intel have both announced value-priced 64-bit CPUs.

PC upgraders on a budget can now start reaping the benefits of 64-bit computing, as AMD and Intel have both announced value-priced 64-bit CPUs.

This means that budget seekers are no longer relegated to using only 32-bit software. Compared to 32-bit software, 64-bit programs should run faster and allow for more efficient multitasking.

AMD will now launch new versions of its existing Sempron line with 64-bit capabilities. Processors featuring the 2600+, 2800+, 3000+, 3100+ and 3300+ monikers are among the first in line.

Besides being 64-bit enabled (and branded AMD64, formerly x86-64), the new chips will also support Intel’s SSE3 technology. This uses multimedia instructions to boost application and gaming performance. As AMD officially announced in March that it would no longer manufacture processors based on the Socket A interface, it’s no surprise to see that the new Semprons all feature the Socket 754 interface.

As for Intel, its new Celeron D 346, 341, 336, 331, 326 and 351 processors will be equipped to tackle 64-bit software. Intel refers to this 64-bit capability as Extended Memory 64 Technology (EMT64T).

The 351, which is the fastest chip in the fleet, boasts a clock speed of 3.2GHz and runs on a 533MHz front side bus. The chip is also manufactured using the company’s 90nm (nanometer) fabrication process.

The new Celeron D processors also move to the LGA775 interface, while prior models all featured the older Socket 478 interface.

Unlike AMD, Intel has not yet nailed the coffin shut on the older Socket 478 interface, as it still has plans to launch processors based on this socket.

Although final pricing for AMD and Intel’s new CPUs has yet to be confirmed, prices are expected to range from a low of $60 to $160.

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