AMD releases 850MHz Duron

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has launched its 850MHz Duron processor, taking a speed jump that puts the AMD budget chip 50MHz ahead of Intel’s recently-announced 800MHz Celeron.

While the Duron’s speed jump is noteworthy, the bigger news from AMD may be that it recently validated two new Duron-ready motherboards featuring cost-conscious integrated-graphics chip sets. Unlike a separate graphics card, which has its own memory, integrated graphics chip sets draw on a system’s main memory. Both Via Technologies and SIS are making such chip sets, and motherboards from Asus and MSI have passed muster with AMD, the company said. Duron PCs have largely outperformed comparable-speed Celeron-based systems in benchmarks. However, the processor’s reliance on motherboards with separate – and expensive – graphics cards has slowed its adoption, said Linley Gwennap, principal analyst with The Linley Group. The drawback to integrated graphics is a lower graphics performance when compared to systems with stand-alone graphics, he said. So there’s a chance the Duron’s performance numbers will fall a bit in systems using the new chip sets, he said.

That, combined with Intel’s recent increase in the Celeron’s bus speed from 66MHz to 100MHz, will close the performance gap between comparable-speed chips, the analyst predicts. However, the Celeron’s 100MHz bus is still only half that of the Duron, he said.

Palm unveils trial of MyPalm portal

Palm Inc. has announced a trial version of its MyPalm portal, where users can download on-line services from Palm, such as e-mail and a calendar, through their PDAs. Information that can be downloaded from the beta site is specifically formatted for handheld screens. Users can gain access to the site via the Web from a PC, or wirelessly through the MyPalm downloadable Web Clipping application. From the site, users can access e-mail, synchronize their Palm calendars or download items such as news, business applications and shopping information.

The MyPalm portal and Web clipping application are available free at