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Infrastructure // PC & Servers

AMD Unveils $99 Quad Core Chip

The Athlon II X4 is a 45-nm processor capable of playing Blu-ray discs on Windows 7 consumer desktops.

Advanced Micro Devices is offering a sub-$100 quad-core processor for mainstream consumer desktops running the upcoming Windows 7.

The AMD Athlon II X4, unveiled Wednesday, is available to system builders. Completing the platform for mainstream desktops is the AMD 785G chipset, which is sold separately. The chipset includes the HD 4200 graphics processor.

The AMD Athlon II, which has a starting price of $99, is a 45-nanometer processor capable of playing Blu-ray discs. Hewlett-Packard is among the computer makers selling Athlon II systems.

AMD introduced its latest low-cost platform as computer manufacturers ready new products for Microsoft's latest OS, scheduled for release Oct. 22. Companies that have recently unveiled new products include HP, Lenovo, and Fujitsu.

In competing with its larger rival Intel, AMD has been offering lots of modestly priced processors and chipsets. AMD in early June introduced the dual-core Athlon II X2 250 processors for mainstream consumer desktops. The 3.0-GHz chip with 2 MB of L2 cache has a thermal design power of 65 watts and costs $87.

The latest Athlon II X4 is the cheapest quad-core on the market today. AMD sells many dual-core and triple-core processors ranging from $60 to less than $140, including the Phenom X3, Athlon X2, and Athlon II X2.

Along with price, AMD is looking to attract customers by making it easier for computer makers to sell their systems. The company this month launched a marketing campaign that downplays the hardware specs inside a PC in favor of a more consumer-friendly focus on what buyers can do with their new computers.

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