The T-bird launches

No, it's not a large, heavy American two-door, it's a new Athlon. And it's all over the place. AMD's virtual press room web site should have press releases on several topics soon, including the Athlon Thunderbird launch, the shipping of the AMD Duron processor, and the announcement of AMD's first revenues from their big fab plant in Dresden.

For the uninitiated, some info:

  • The T-bird is a new Athlon processor with on-die L2 cache, much like the PIII Coppermine.
  • For more info on the benefits of an integrated L2 cache, see my PIII 800EB review.
  • The Duron processor is AMD's new Celeron killer. It, too, has an integrated L2 cache, only the cache is smaller. Durons look to be about as fast as "classic" Athlons.
  • For the best pics I've seen yet of the T-bird, see this page of our E3 report.
  • The T-bird and Duron will both be socketed, sitting in AMD's Socket A. See Why the T-bird won't ride in Slot A and How to cook a Thunderbird for more on this issue.
  • The T-bird is also the first general purpose CPU to use copper interconnects—at least some of 'em, the ones made in Dresden, use copper. Some rumors say the copper ones will do 1.4GHz with some ease.
  • These CPUs will be multiplier locked and socketed, so Golden Fingers cards won't be of use. We may be limited to bus overclocking, as with the PIII. See my look at the future of Athlon overclocking for some speculation on what comes next.

Meanwhile, the Big Boys have published their T-bird reviews. Here's the list so far:

Sadly, the T-bird doesn't seem much faster at 1GHz than the Pentium III—slower, in some cases. A disappointment for some folks, I'm sure. They ought to have released a 1.1GHz version to punctuate the Athlon's scalability. What do y'all think?
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