Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) has begun shipping two new versions of its Athlon XP processor and says machines based on the chips can be expected in September.

The new Athlon XP chips have performance ratings of 2400+ and 2600+, the company said in a statement. The processors are built using AMD’s 0.13-micron Thoroughbred core, like the previous fastest 2200+ processor, which was the first AMD chip to use the core and appeared in June this year. The 2400+ will run at 2GHz, while the 2600+ will run at 2.133GHz, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research. AMD uses model numbers to rate its processors and give users an idea of their relative performance, rather than using the clock speeds of its chips in the official name, like Intel Corp. The 2600+ and 2400+ processors will cost US$297 and US$193 respectively in 1,000-unit quantities, which is a standard measurement for chip prices. AMD cut prices on most of its desktop and mobile processors as a result of the announcement.

Mac OS X VPN client software in beta testing

V-ONE Corp., a provider of client/server virtual private networks, has begun beta testing SmartPass Mac OS X client. The finished version of the security solution is expected in early September.

V-ONE’s VPN technology provides end-to-end security for public and private networks. The new version of the SmartPass Mac OS X client software includes a completely redesigned interface and support for Mac OS X 10.2 (Jaguar); it also works with Mac OS 9. The Mac client runs as a non-intrusive application on the Mac desktop, providing VPN connection services to the SmartGate server software or SmartGuard appliance, and can be deployed in a multi-user environment. Plus, it lets users manage existing Mac networking applications and utilizes Web-based registration. The client software doesn’t require networking reconfiguration and runs completely in the background without any end user intervention, according to V-ONE. Sensitive data is exchanged among locations using Triple DES encryption with constantly changing session keys. V-ONE products purportedly work with all major firewalls and supports a wide range of third-party authentication systems.