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From Reuters By Elinor Mills Abreu

AMD touts power Athlon 64 chip for Media, Games Sept. 23rd, 2003

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Advanced Micro Devices Inc. on Tuesday showed off PC games and home networking technology using its new Athlon 64 processor that the chip maker hopes will steal a lead on much larger rival Intel Corp.

AMD (NYSE:AMD) unveiled four Athlon 64 processors targeted at desktop and notebook computers ranging from $417 to $733.

Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo:6702.T) and other computer makers are offering Athlon 64-based PCs now, while Hewlett-Packard Co. will have systems out in the fourth quarter, AMD said.

The Athlon 64 crunches 64 bits of data at a time, performing much faster than existing 32-bit software. It runs both 32-bit and 64-bit applications and is the first 64-bit processor for the Windows desktop platform.

Both AMD and Intel (NasdaqNM:INTC) have 64-bit processors for server computers, where advanced computing is more common for things like database transaction processing, animation or video rendering and scientific analysis. Intel has not publicly disclosed plans for releasing a 64-bit processor for PCs.




In a bid of support for AMD, Microsoft Corp. (NasdaqNM:MSFT) said it would have a native 64-bit version of its Windows XP desktop operating system for Athlon 64 available early next year.

Home Media Networks Ltd. said it was developing a computer based on the Athlon 64 chip that will allow people to play or watch TV, DVDs, CDs and MP3 music files on different devices throughout the home using a remote control.

"Athlon 64 gives the PC the quality of a dedicated game console," said Tim Bajarin, president of consultancy Creative Strategies Inc. "They're pushing the envelope in processor designs and speeds. Its backward compatibility makes it a viable competitor to Intel."

AMD also brought in Dweezil Zappa, the son of late rock musician Frank Zappa, in a bid to lend some hipness to the launch of the microprocessor. Zappa said he was using an Athlon 64-based computer to mix a 75-minute piece of music into "surround" sound and to archive all his father's music.

"I feel like I'm the space monkey," he said. "They're launching me into space," by allowing him to be an early user of the Athlon 64.

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