The Celeron Killer: AMD's New Duron Processor

Show Me Your Color

Since I was the one who brought it up, it's now time to clear up the issue about the die color of Thunderbird's and Duron's die. In the Thunderbird article I reckoned that dies with a greenish tint are produced in AMD's Dresden Fab 30, using Copper interconnect. The bluish dies I decided to be samples from the Austin Fab 25 using aluminum interconnect. AMD informed us (and obviously a few others too) that I was right to distinguish the production place of the dies by checking the color of the chip. However, the greenish or bluish color does not come from the material used for the interconnects, but from a different 'polisher' that is used in Dresden and Austin. We know that Duron will only be produced in Austin and you can see that Duron is definitely green. Therefore I had to learn that my guess was only partly correct, the colors however are exactly the other way around. A green die comes from Austin and is using aluminum interconnect, a blue die comes from Dresden and is using copper.

Duron Pricing

These are the 1K unit prices AMD disclosed for the Duron launch:

  • Duron 700 - $192
  • Duron 650 - $154
  • Duron 600 - $112

Those prices are about identical to the prices of Celeron processors of the same clock frequency. From this point of view Duron is the much more attractive solution, because the benchmark results show that Duron is significantly faster than Celeron. However, I consider the $193 for Duron 700 as a tad too high as well. For the same price you can get a Pentium III 667 EB, which outperforms Celeron and is able to beat Duron in several benchmarks as well, as you will see below.