To complement the Athlon 1.2GHz launch, AMD also announced their latest Duron processor, now running at 800MHz. With Celeron 733's and 766's hitting the streets of Japan (and soon, US shores) the Duron 800 solidifies AMD's clock speed lead among budget CPUs.
Maintaining their clock speed advantage is an important accomplishment for AMD. You see, to the mainstream consumer, the performance of a processor is largely based on clock speed. With AMD clearly ahead in the clock speed race, end users looking for a high-performance budget processor are more likely to choose the faster Duron processor when making their purchase.
The Expensive Culprit
Unfortunately for AMD, the price of motherboards to house those Duron processors hasn't come down yet. Even today, months after KT133's launch, most of the inexpensive motherboards based on this chipset still hover in the $110 range. In contrast, less expensive Apollo Pro133 and Apollo Pro133A motherboards can be easily had for under $100!
Complicating the situation is the millions of users already in possession of a good BX motherboard. For these users, it's much easier to simply stick with their current BX motherboard and upgrade to a Celeron processor rather than purchase an inexpensive Duron CPU and $110 KT133 motherboard.
Fortunately for AMD, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
The first factor that will allow KT133 motherboards to drop in price is the second generation of Athlon motherboards with clock multiplier support. Today, only five motherboards with clock multiplier adjustment exist: the QDI KinetiZ 7T, ASUS A7V, the low-cost ASUS A7Pro, and ABIT KT7/KT7-RAID.
Over the next few weeks, motherboards with multiplier adjustment will be released from AOpen, FIC, MSI, and, a few weeks later, Soyo. As a result, prices on existing motherboards from these aforementioned companies should drop, with the newer KT133 motherboards with multiplier adjustment taking their place at the high-end.
Something Savage This Way Comes...
Another development that should make Duron systems more attractive to system manufacturers (in budget PC's) is VIA's upcoming ProSavage KM133 chipset. KM133 integrates VIA's KT133 chipset with S3's Savage4 3D engine and the 2D core from Savage 2000 to provide a fully independent audio/video motherboard solution. System manufacturers will only need to drop in the CPU, RAM, and drives to build a complete system for end users, making it ideal for low-cost PC's.
Until these lower cost motherboards are available, AMD has had to drop prices on their Duron CPU's to remain price competitive (in the eyes of system manufacturers) with Celeron. As a result, AMD sells Duron 700 processors for 54% less than the equivalent Celeron processor.