It's really surprising what is low-end nowadays. A scant year ago, the 1GHz barrier was popped, and now a 1.3GHz processor is a bottom feeder. As a result of this, a lot has changed in the way we evaluate processor speeds. The big rule of thumb we lost is that "MHz is king." For a good two decades, the clock speed was a fairly good indication of how powerful a chip was going to be. To many in the know this is a new concept, to those who buy computers at Best Buy, we pray you aren't at the mercy of the salespeople.
The Duron 1.3GHz is no different from the other Durons coming out right now. The chip is still being pumped out on a .18 micron manufacturing process. And like other Durons, it is still the inferior line in comparison to the Athlon. Although, the Duron does have a few redeeming qualities. The heat output of this CPU is well underneath that of an Athlon. Meaning you can still have some power, but not give up the war on size, cooling, and noise. So if you wanted to go ahead and build a reasonably silent gaming rig the Duron 1.3 might just work out.
Seeing as the Duron is based off of the aging Morgan core, and combining that with the fact that it is still made using an .18-micron process, there shouldn't be too much headroom left with the sample we have today. We've already seen the Athlon line hitting a wall at the 1.4-1.5GHz barrier (hence the new Athlon XP). Some lucky samples go a bit faster, but most don't budge too much. God bless die shrinks! Unfortunately the 1.3GHz Duron was not lucky enough to be shrunk. We tried to push the CPU up a decent amount, but we couldn't manage to get it stable over 1400MHz, instead we had to settle with close enough - 1396MHz. Needless to say, we weren't surprised by the results. What we can't wait to get our hands on are some of the newer Athlon XP 1600+ CPUs. Those things cost a handful of dollars more than the Duron 1.3GHz, and they have tons of headroom that can be exploited. Stay tuned for an article on that folks!