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AMD's Duron 1.3GHz processor

The unluckiest multiplier

ALTHOUGH VALUE PROCESSORS AREN'T as flashy as the latest processor powerhouses from AMD and Intel, they're much more in line with what a lot of us can afford. Done right, they should deliver on the value proposition they're supposed to represent: great performance for the price. The revamped Duron and Celeron processors from AMD and Intel, respectively, might just live up to their callings. They're quite a bit faster than their predecessors, and they're nearly nipping at the heels of the low-end Athlon XP and Pentium 4 processors.

Today, AMD ups the ante in the value world once again with its Duron 1.3GHz. Naturally, we're going to give you the scoop on how this latest Duron stacks up against the competition. Last time around, at 1.2GHz, we saw the debut of Intel's new Celeron, overhauled courtesy of the Tualatin core from the Pentium III. With a full 256KB of L2 cache, the new Celeron gave the Duron a run for its money for the first time in ages.

This time out, AMD felt compelled to demonstrate exactly how the Duron's value proposition plays out in the real world. Not only did they ratchet up the Duron's clock speed by a notch, but they also built a custom Duron-driven system for under $600. And that's with a discrete graphics card sitting in the AGP slot.

Does this latest Duron keep the Celeron at bay? Could a $600 PC ever satisfy TR's insatiable desire for computing power? Read on to find out.

Duron 1.2GHz + 100MHz
This new Duron isn't anything radically new. It still uses AMD's Morgan core; it's still built on a 0.18 micron aluminum process; and it still runs on a 100MHz front side bus. Really, the new element this brings to the Duron line is a multiplier of 13—and the 1300MHz clock speed that comes with it.

Like the Morgan-based Durons before it, the Duron 1.3GHz has 128KB of L1 cache and 64KB of L2 cache. Its L1 cache is split evenly between a 64KB instruction cache and a 64KB data cache.

The Duron 1.3GHz

Peeking up the Duron 1.3GHz's skirt

At 1.3GHz, the Duron runs with a multiplier of 13 on a front-side bus of 100MHz (double pumped for an effective 200MHz). It requires 1.75 volts of power. Otherwise, Duron 1.3GHz is very similar to its 1.2GHz and 1.1GHz predecessors.

The Duron 1.2GHz and 1.3GHz