AMD today announced three new processors designed to boost performance in mobile, desktop, workstation and server computers at the CeBit tradeshow in Hanover.

The new chips include AMD's Athlon XP 2100+ for desktop PCs, Mobile Athlon 4 1600+ for notebooks and Athlon MP 2000+ for servers and workstations.

The desktop XP 2100+ reaches speeds of 1.73GHz, according to AMD officials. The Mobile Athlon 4 1600+ hits 1.4GHz speeds and the MP 2000+, which can power systems alone or in pairs, climbs to 1.67GHz.

Hardware manufacturers are keeping pace with AMD by releasing systems based on these new chips almost simultaneously. Compaq, Fujitsu-Siemens and NEC desktop PCs are available now with the XP 2100+ chip and Compaq is now taking orders for notebooks with the Athlon 4 1600+, with retail availability to follow shortly.

This vendor support, while not unusual for AMD, shows some early acceptance for the new processors.

AMD's new chips will compete with rival Intel's Pentium 4 desktop processor and Mobile Pentium III and Celeron processors. On Tuesday Intel announced a new version of its multiprocessor Xeon chip for workstations and servers that reaches speeds of 1.6GHz.

The nomenclature that AMD now uses for its chips, an initiative it began last fall, is designed to give customers a more accurate sense of performance than simply stating the megahertz figure, said John Rowe, product marketing engineer with AMD's mobile group. The numbers, such as 2100, represent relative performance, instead of the internal clock speed of the chip.

"It's a good way to communicate to the customer what performance they can expect out of the processor they're buying," Rowe said, adding that after a little scepticism in the beginning, the branding seems to be catching on with OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and customers.