While AMD and Intel are really fighting it out in the high-end, it's important to remember that many buyers can only window shop these premium CPUs. Sure, the Pentium 4-2.2 GHz and Athlon XP 2000+ are appealing, but what if you don't have the scratch to add these processors to your gaming arsenal? Fortunately for cash-strapped buyers, neither company seems to be ignoring the entry-level market.
Both AMD and Intel are producing value CPUs, as well as both lower prices, and introducing more mid-range speeds, in their higher-end products. This also brings up the question of exactly what constitutes a "value processor" in the first place. Is it based on price, performance, platform or a little bit of each mixed together?
In many ways, both AMD and Intel have correctly positioned their product lines, but the platform may be the telling factor. After all, you can buy a Pentium 4-1.4 GHz/SDRAM PC for about what a Celeron 1.3 GHz/SDRAM rig will cost you, and receive a newer platform with a bit more upward mobility. The same goes for AMD, as many buyers aren't comparing the Duron to the Athlon XP, but to the low-cost, previous-generation Athlon.
AMD is looking to change this perception by moving higher on the Duron speed scale, and the Duron 1.3 GHz is a step in the right direction. This release really serves two purposes: it matches the Intel speed mark of the Celeron 1.3 GHz, but it also puts a bit more distance between the newer Duron models and some of the older Athlon CPUs. The Duron 1.2 GHz was really the first Duron model that started to look pretty good compared to the Athlon, and with a full 100 MHz core speed jump over that CPU, we've got high hopes for the Duron 1.3 GHz to continue this trend.