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Infrastructure // PC & Servers

AMD Boosts Athlon II Speed

Advanced Micro Devices has boosted the clock speed of its Athlon II X4 uad-core processor.

The chipmaker on Tuesday introduced the 95-watt, 3.0 GHz Athlon II X4 640 quad-core processor for mainstream desktops. For systems requiring a chip that consumes less power, AMD also launched the 45-watt, 2.4 GHz Athlon II X4 610e quad-core chip. The new products are priced at $122 and $143, respectively.

The platform for both processors includes the AMD 8-Series chipsets and ATI Radeon HD graphics.

Meanwhile, AMD on Tuesday got some good news from Moody's Investors Service. The credit rating agency raised its rating from B2 to Ba3. The latter means Moody's considers AMD a business with "substantial credit risk" and "speculative elements." The old B2 rating listed AMD as "high credit risk."

The company has struggled in competing against the much larger Intel and has posted a string of quarterly losses over the last several years. However, AMD has looked better to bankers, since it spun off its manufacturing operations into a joint venture with the Advanced Technology Investment Co., formed by the Abu Dhabi government.

GlobalFoundries, based in Silicon Valley, Calif., currently produced AMD's 45-nanometer products, and is in the process of transitioning to a 32-nm manufacturing process. Intel is currently selling 32-nm products, which generally offer higher performance at less energy consumption than 45-nm chips.

AMD on Wednesday is expected to launch two notebook and two desktop platforms. The company says it will also introduce the "next phase" of its Vision technology.

Vision is a marketing term AMD introduced in September 2009 to describe its platforms. Rather than discuss specs related to CPUs, graphics processors and other hardware, AMD describes a platform to consumers as either basic, premium or ultimate, based on its computing performance.

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