AMD today began shipping its latest Athlon processor, the first Intel x86-compatible chip to run at a speed of 1GHz, the company announced in a statement. The first commercially available systems based on the 1GHz AMD Athlon processor are available immediately from Compaq with its Presario model and Gatewa's Select 1000, the companies said. The AMD Athlon processor is manufactured using AMD's aluminum 0.18-micron process technology, features an advanced microarchitecture optimized for high clock frequency and the industry's first fully pipelined, superscalar floating point unit for x86 platforms, AMD said. The AMD Athlon system bus runs at 200MHz with support for scalable multiprocessing, the company said. In the statement, AMD chairman and chief executive officer Jerry Sanders described the breaking of the 1GHz speed barrier as a watershed event for the personal computer industry but the company's lead may turn out to be short-lived. Intel is committed to launching a 1GHz microprocessor by the end of June and weekend press reports suggested an even earlier launch.