AMD has introduced a new fast memory technology that promises to further increase the performance of high-end PCs.

AMD's latest chipset will allow PCs powered by its high-end Athlon processors to take advantage of the emerging DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random access memory) high-speed memory devices.

DDR SDRAM is a fast memory specification backed by most of the world's leading memory chip makers that promises to double the peak data throughput rate of today's mainstream SDRAM devices, offering peak bandwidth as high as 2.1GBps (gigabytes per second).

PCs with DDR SDRAM and the new Athlon processors will compete with systems based on Intel's soon-to-be-released Pentium 4 processor and Rambus DRAM. Rambus chips offer much better performance but are more expensive than SDRAM chips.

Chip giant Intel plans launch the high speed Pentium 4 soon, (it has clock speeds of 1.4GHz and 1.5GHz), setting the stage for yet another battle between it and AMD. Intel CEO Craig Barratt hinted last week that the company plans to price of Pentium 4 to compete with its rivals.

Other suppliers of new fast memory chips include Infineon Technologies, Micron Technology and Samsung Electronics. They say DDR SDRAM chips will be only slightly more expensive than today's SDRAM chips.

NEC Computer is taking orders for PCs featuring the new chipsets and plans to start shipping systems based on them in November, AMD said. AMD added that other major PC vendors, including Compaq would introduce similar systems in early 2001.

The AMD-760 chip set is designed to support new versions of the Athlon processor featuring a faster 266MHz front-side bus and running at clock speeds of 1.2GHz, 1.13GHz and 1GHz.