RealTime IT News

Fake Chips Shadow AMD's New Alchemy

Taiwanese officials shut down late last week a Taipei workshop reportedly making counterfeit AMD chips. The news has put a damper on the release of Alchemy, the company's new processor.

Reports published by area news Web site Sin Chew Daily said one man had been arrested after investigators found the warehouse illegally re-labeling as many as one million chips as AMD Athlon XP microprocessors.

The practice, as "re-marking," involves resellers and/or distributors who may purchase less expensive processors that are rated at lower clock frequencies and then re-mark them at higher clock frequencies for resale.

Tech industry site X-bit labs reported Saturday many of the fakes were headed for South Asian markets but some of the SKUs may have landed in Germany. Representatives with AMD were not immediately available for comment.

News of the forged Athlon chips comes at the same time AMD is making headway in the personal media player sector with a new Alchemy chip. AMD's Alchemy family has traditionally been found in low-power devices, such as thin clients, handheld devices and wireless access points.

AMD said its new Alchemy Au1200 processor could help these new players connect directly to digital video recorders (DVR) and transfer video content without the need to transcode the file through a PC. The chip is designed to support industry-standard media formats, including MPEG2, MPEG4, WMV9, H.263 and DivX.

The company said it plans on making its Au1200 processor available in production quantities in the second quarter of 2005 in 333MHz, 400MHz and 500MHz speed options and priced at $22.50 in 10,000 unit quantities.

Electronics manufacturers GoVideo and FIC Vassili have also purchased large quantities of AMD's new Alchemy chip for use in their next generation of portable video players.

AMD said it is using the new chip to help out a partnership with DVR manufacturer TiVo to support the DVR-maker's new TiVo-To-Go initiative. The service lets customers transfer programs directly to portable media players, laptops and other portable devices.

AMD is expected to highlight the new Alchemy lineup during this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.