By Tom Krazit

IDG News Service

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. introduced its fastest desktop processor to date on Tuesday, the Athlon XP 3200+.

The new chip is AMD’s first with a 400MHz front-side bus. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company had been widely expected to increase the bus speed in this chip as rival Intel Corp. has released Pentium 4 processors with faster bus speeds and chipsets.

The new processor is based on AMD’s Barton core, which features a total of 640KB of on-die cache. Its operating frequency is 2.2GHz, and AMD priced the chip at US$464 in quantities of 1,000 units. The chip is immediately available in systems from vendors in North America and Europe, although AMD declined to specify which ones.

AMD hopes the new processor will keep its high-end chips competitive with Intel until the release of the Athlon64 processor in September. Intel is scheduled to release its first chip built on a 90-nanometer process around that time, which will up the competitive ante between the two companies once again.