AMD explains why the Duron is multiplier locked

'We want to be more like Intel...'

Until recently, in the hardware community Intel and AMD were distinct from one another in a very fundamental way: Intel's processors were multiplier-locked, and AMD's were not. With the release of the (multiplier locked) Duron, this has changed and the hardware hackers are not happy.

The trouble is, as much as the people working at AMD may sympathise with the predicament this puts the overclockers in, the company is trying to get itself taken seriously by the big corporates. And this is where the real money is.

Speaking to The Register, AMD's European marketing manager Richard Baker said that the Duron had been locked to discourage re-marking. Unlike Intel, AMD also puts the speed (MHz) directly onto the die with a laser - tricky to remove without damaging the chip itself.

"The obvious first thing to say is that we advise our customers not to overclock our processors. It can detrimentally effect the performance and reliability of the processors. Physically altering the processor itself certainly will invalidate its warranty," he said.

This is very different to the stance taken by Intel a number of years ago when a spokesman for the company said: "Hell, run them as fast as you like. We'll sell you a new one when it breaks." Chipzilla has also tended to be more conservative in its speed ratings, which may account for its somewhat more cavalier attitude. Of course these days Intels locks things down more tightly than anyone.

In essence, AMD is trying to establish itself as a credible alternative to Intel in the corporate space. The side effect of firming up its reliability figures and market position is that the high esteem it has been held in by the overclocking community may well atrophy.®

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