AMD to launch new chip brand

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Advanced Micro Devices on Tuesday signalled it would step up its battle with Intel to penetrate the digital home with the launch of a new brand for its processors.

Intel announced in August it would launch a platform branded as Viiv to promote digital entertainment devices to consumers in early 2006.

Henri Richard, head of sales and marketing, told the annual analysts’ day at AMD’s Silicon Valley headquarters that it would also come up with a new brand for its digital media platforms in 2006, but did not reveal the name.

In addition, Intel has announced it will introduce a new processor design next year and Phil Hester, AMD chief technology officer, said the company would also launch a new design for its mobile, desktop and server processors in 2006. It would address 64-bit memory and have two cores working on the processor, with the capability of being upgraded to four cores, he said.

Bob Rivet, chief financial officer, said he expected AMD’s operating profit and earnings per share to increase significantly in 2006. He excluded Spansion, the memory-chip subsidiary that is in the process of being spun off, from his figures.

Mr Rivet said production would begin in the next two weeks at AMD’s new chip plant, Fab 36 in Dresden, Germany, which was officially opened last month. It would move to volume production of the latest 65-nanometre circuit-width chips in the second half of 2006. Intel leads in this area – it opened its second fab for producing 65nm chips two weeks ago.

AMD has been making market share gains on Intel. It overtook its rival in sales of consumer PCs and laptops in retail stores in October, with 49.8 per cent of the market to 48.5 for Intel, according to the Current Analysis research firm.

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