Reliable sources have told The Register that AMD will release an 850MHz Athlon processor in mid-February, just in time to put a damper on Intel's up-and-coming Developer Forum.
The AMD product, which will be available in volume shortly after the announcement, is likely to force Intel to up the ante. Intel may well do so during the week of the Developer Forum, which The Register is attending.
Currently, both Intel and AMD are both selling 800MHz versions of their Pentium III and Athlon processors. The Intel Coppermine parts are beginning to arrive in quantities, the company said when it announced its financial results last week.
The 850MHz Athlon that AMD will announce shows that the firm is making the running in the clock speed wars.
Sources in both the channel and at PC manufacturers have repeatedly told The Register that AMD is capable of rolling out the big one -- the 1GHz Athlon -- at a time of its own choosing.
According to one source, AMD has already successfully produced 1GHz Athlons, and is just biding its time.
Intel's official roadmap is still positing a 1GHz IA-32 microprocessor the second half of this year.