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AMD To Unveil Power-Efficient Chips

Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Intel Corp.'s biggest rival in personal computer microprocessors, plans to unveil chips Tuesday it says will lead to more power-efficient PCs that are smaller and more stylish.

AMD claims its latest desktop chips consume less power than its current offerings or those from Intel. They are aimed at PC makers who want to build smaller, more aesthetically pleasing machines, said Leslie Sobon, director of product management in AMD's desktop division.

The chips, which will go on sale later this month, come as AMD and Intel try to outdo each other in improving power-efficiency and adding other features to their products.

The latest AMD chips will come in two categories and span the Sunnyvale-based company's Athlon 64 X2, Athlon 64 and Sempron brands. A 65-watt chip will boost power efficiency by up to 37 percent when compared with AMD's standard 89-watt processors. A smaller, 35-watt model will more than double the performance per watt, AMD said.

"This is a big step forward and a big step forward without any performance compromises," said Nathan Brookwood, an analyst with the research firm Insight 64.

Prices range from $101 at the low end to $671 at the high end when purchased in volume.

Intel's Pentium 4 desktop processor consumes about 90 watts, Brookwood said.

Last month, Intel Chief Executive Paul Otellini said older Intel chips had grown "long in the tooth" and vowed that a series of chips to be released in the second half of this year will help his company regain market share lost to AMD.

One of those processors, a desktop chip Intel plans to release in the third quarter, will deliver 40 percent better performance while consuming 40 percent less power. The chip, code named Conroe, runs on about 65 watts, Brookwood said.

Both companies are racing to deliver more power-efficient processors that can be run in smaller and more stylish PCs. At the same time, businesses are interested in lowering the electricity costs from powering large numbers of computers.