If you build it, they will come?
It has been just over a year since the original Duron core, codenamed "Spitfire" (in reference to the World War II Royal Air Force fighter) was officially released. Initially available in clock speeds of 600, 650, and 700MHz, AMD's Duron processor was faster out of the gate than Intel's Celeron processor, and quite frankly, hasn't looked back since: in terms of both price and performance, Duron is clearly superior to Celeron.
Unfortunately for AMD, Duron's dominance in both of these categories hasn't quite shown up in sales. Most Tier One system manufacturers with AMD processors in their product lineup have passed over Duron in favor of 900MHz and 1GHz or Athlons, or, in the case of value systems intended for the corporate market, Pentium III or Celeron processors. Even in the do-it-yourself (DIY) market, many consumers on a budget have purchased Athlon processors rather than Durons. After all, with the price difference between Athlon and Duron under $20, many consumers have no problems paying a little more for extra performance.
The situation Duron presently finds itself in can arguably be attributed to conditions that existed during its launch. The primary culprit that hurt Duron wasn't related to the CPU itself, but its infrastructure. While the latest Athlons were available in both Slot A and Socket A form factors, Duron didn't have this luxury. Motherboards utilizing its brand new Socket A interface were in short supply and priced at a premium. This made life hard for Duron: while it was a popular choice for many DIY'ers (the price premium between Athlon and Duron was a lot greater than $20 at the time) system manufacturers had a hard time fitting Duron in the price targets they were shooting for.
Since that time the price of Socket A motherboards has dropped dramatically. In addition, multiple chipsets have been released that natively support Duron. For system manufacturers chief among them has been a product with integrated graphics. VIA's KM133 chipset is one such solution. With its built in Savage 4 graphics core and AC'97 sound, KM133 gives system manufacturers the flexibility they need to build complete system for the sub-$800 market.
With these newer developments, AMD has finally got Duron going on the right track. During its conference call last month, AMD executives mentioned that shipments of Duron and Athlon processors were roughly about fifty-fifty. In an effort to build on this momentum, today AMD launched its 1GHz Duron.
With the launch of the 1GHz Duron, AMD is not only the first to reach this mark in the value segment, but they're also unleashing the successor to their Spitfire core, codenamed "Morgan".
That's right, after being delayed a quarter, Morgan is finally here!