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AMD Unveils New Dual-Core Chips

Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Intel Corp.'s biggest rival in the market for microprocessors that act as the brains of personal computers, unveiled plans for new products it said would deliver improved performance and efficiency.

Executives disclosed details of a mobile-PC chip design that boosts power efficiency by allowing parts of the processor to turn on and off as needed.

The resulting product, part of AMD's Turion family, will offer two processors on a single chip and a new mechanism for making both of them work in concert for big jobs or shutting one down when a PC is carrying out less demanding chores, Phil Hester, AMD's chief technology officer, told reporters and analysts gathered Thursday at the company's headquarters.

The company also revealed a design aimed at computer gamers that will allow two multi-core chips to run in a single PC. With each core in essence acting as its own processor, the product, code-named 4X4, will have the capability to deliver a total of four computing engines.

That will make machines based on the 4X4 design better at tackling demanding tasks often needed by PCs running certain types of programs, such as games and video editing applications, Hester said.

AMD, once little more than an imitator of the designs of Intel, has over the past three years emerged with new products that have helped it steal market share from its larger rival. Intel has vowed to close the performance gap and retake lost share with three new chips that will become available in the second half of the year.

Analysts said the products discussed Thursday show that AMD continues to mount a challenge to Intel, the world's biggest chip maker.

"They're not presenting Intel with a stationary target," said Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates. "It continues to be a horse race."

AMD also said it planned to deliver processors with four computing engines on a single chip in mid-2007 for servers and desktop computers, along with technical underpinnings that will allow them to work together more efficiently.

Shares of AMD closed at $31.39, up 50 cents, in Thursday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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