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Intel to counter Athlon 3200+ with 3.2GHz P4

Launches galore

AMD will launch its anticipated 400MHz frontside bus Athlon XP processor later this month ahead of the official debut of further 800MHz FSB Pentium 4 parts from Intel.

The AMD's 400MHz FSB chip is based on the company's Barton core. AMD has yet to announce the part, but as we've reported before, company staffers have alluded to and mobo companies have effectively pre-announced.

Some roadmaps detailed by Japanese Web site PC Watch suggested back in March that the 400MHz FSB Athlon would ship in a late-April to mid-May timeframe, and recent reports from CNET and DigiTimes cite sources confirming the latter date.

The initial roadmap report pointed at a 400MHz FSB Athlon XP 3200+. Later reports confirm that rating, and claim that AMD will release a 3000+ version too. The current Athlon XP 3000+, which supports a 333MHz FSB, is priced at $325, so we'd expect the new parts to come in at that price-point or just above it. They are unlikely to be more expensive than the $690 Opteron 242. We'd estimate a price of around $600 for the 3200+.

Intel's plan to introduce 2.4, 2.6 and 2.8GHz Pentium 4s supporting the quad-pumped 200MHz FSB - for an effective 800MHz frequency - has been known for some time. The chip giant will ship its Springdale chipset at the same time.

However, while earlier reports claimed Intel would ship a 3.2GHz clock, 800MHz FSB P4 toward the end of the current quarter, DigiTimes' mobo-maker sources claim that the part will debut on 21 May too.

The chips' introductory prices are expected to be $278 for the 2.8GHz P4C, $218 for the 2.6GHz P4 and $178 for the 2.4GHz P4C. The 'C' indicates 800MHz bus support when there's already a 533MHz FSB chip at that clock speed. The 3.2GHz P4 is expected to be priced at $637.

The 21 May launch will be prefaced by price cuts to the current 533MHz FSB P4 line-up on 11 May. ®

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