AMD’s Athlon XP 1800+ processor

TODAY AMD UNLEASHES its new Athlon XP processor on an unsuspecting world. AMD’s Athlon processor gets a new name, a revamped design, a new look, and a controversial new marketing scheme. The Athlon XP is AMD’s attempt to win back the PC processor performance crown from Intel, whose 2GHz Pentium 4 just edged out the 1.4GHz Athlon in our last round of tests. This new Athlon XP chip runs at only 1.53GHz, but it’s likely to take Intel’s 2GHz wonder to the woodshed. Read on to find out why.

Palomino finally gallops onto the desktop
The Athlon XP is a revised version of the Athlon based on a core design code-named “Palomino.” We’ve seen Palomino previews in a number of places—in laptop CPUs, in the Athlon MP server/workstation chips, and in little brother “Morgan”—but the Athlon XP is the first Pally aimed at the desktop.

The Palomino core packs in a number of enhancements designed to improve the Athlon’s performance, and scalability. Among them:

  • Lower power requirements — Thanks to some changes in the way the chip is made, the Palomino requires about 20% less power than corresponding Thunderbird chips. As you might expect, that means the Palomino runs quite a bit cooler than the T-bird, as well. (For this reason, the Palomino first hit the market as a mobile processor for notebook computers, in the form of the oddly named “Athlon 4” processor.)

    Despite the changes, the Palomino is still made on the same 0.18-micron copper fab process as current Athlons. Intel will soon deliver a die-shrunk Pentium 4, but it will take a while for AMD to make the conversion to 0.13 microns. AMD likes to point out that even a 0.13-micron Pentium 4 has a larger die size than a 0.18-micron Athlon XP.

  • An on-chip thermal diode — Like Intel’s Pentium III and 4 processors, the Palomino core includes an on-chip thermal diode for temperature monitoring and better power management.
  • Hardware pre-fetch — Performance-wise, this may be the most important addition to the Palomino. The hardware pre-fetch logic attempts to anticipate what data will be needed from main memory next and preemptively loads this data into the processor’s L1 cache. This enhancement, which is similar to logic present in Intel’s Pentium 4 and Pentium III “Tualatin” processors, should allow the Athlon to take better advantage of the extra memory bandwidth available with advanced forms of memory like DDR SDRAM.
  • Improved translation look-aside buffers (TLB) — Though more esoteric than hardware pre-fetch, improved TLBs ought to complement data pre-fetch logic nicely. The Palomino’s revamped TLB structures are now larger, speculative (as one would expect, with hardware pre-fetch now in the picture), and exclusive (no longer shared) between caches. These improved TLBs should help keep the Athlon’s pipeline fed, increasing clock-for-clock performance.
  • SSE compatibility — AMD says the Palomino includes 52 new instructions that comprise something called “3DNow! Professional.” These instructions just happen to correspond to the instructions the original Athlon needed in order to be compatible with Intel’s SSE, or streaming SIMD extensions. These extra instructions do not provide compatibility with the Pentium 4’s new SSE2 instructions, but they should yield improved performance in applications optimized for SSE but not for AMD’s competing 3DNow! extensions.
  • More transistors — To accommodate these new features, the Palomino weighs in at about half a million more transistors than the Athlon Thunderbird, up from 37 million to 37.5 million.

Cumulatively, these improvements should make the Athlon XP quite a bit better than its predecessor. The T-bird had no significant performance weaknesses to speak of, except that it wasn’t entirely able to make use of the extra bandwidth provided by DDR memory. Palomino ought to remedy that weakness and add some new strengths.

 

The chip
Beyond the internal changes, the Athlon XP comes in a new package. It looks like so:


Top view of the Athlon XP 1800+


Bottom view: some new clutter underneath

The Athlon XP’s new outfit is an organic pin grid array (OPGA) package. This package has a fiberglass substrate, like a printed circuit board—and quite similar to the packaging on Intel chips. AMD claims the new organic packaging is cheaper to produce and offers lower impedance than the ceramic packaging they’ve used in the past.

It’s also quite brown.

I’m hopeful the new packaging will flex and bend ever so slightly, preventing the disasters with cracked or chipped cores we’ve seen with Athlons in the past. However, the Athlon XP’s core is just as exposed and vulnerable as ever. I had hoped to see a metal cap (“Integrated Heat Spreader”) a la the Pentium 4, but no such luck.


From left to right: Athlon “Thunderbird”, Athlon MP, and Athlon XP
 

AMD’s new math
The biggest news with the Athlon XP may not be the technology, but how AMD plans to market it. We have dwelt at some length here at TR on the issue of clock speeds and performance, from the great Mac Wars to our Pentium 4 2GHz review, where I offered a lengthy explanation of how MHz has mattered in the PC market in the past, and how the game has changed with the Pentium 4.

More MHz myth madness
The long and the short of it is this: a processor’s clock speed—measured in MHz and GHz—isn’t a reliable indicator, all by itself, of performance. We’ve seen that time and time again, as Athlons at 1.2 and 1.4GHz have handed higher-clocked Pentium 4 processors their heads. On a platter. The Pentium 4’s NetBurst microarchitecture simply does less work per clock cycle than the Athlon. That fact doesn’t necessarily reflect poorly on the P4 or on the Athlon, it’s just the way things are. An Athlon Thunderbird at 1.2GHz is roughly equivalent, performance-wise, to a 1.7GHz Pentium 4. A 1.4GHz Athlon runs neck-and-neck with a 2GHz P4.

Trouble is, the Pentium 4’s super-high clock speeds tend to look mighty appealing on the features list of a brand-new PC. Given the choice between a 1.7GHz Intel and a 1.2GHz AMD at about the same price, the mythical Joe Sixpack is probably gonna opt for the 1.7GHz Intel. That uncomfortable fact threatens to become a marketing nightmare for AMD. Few companies would want to face the daunting prospect of explaining to Joe Sixpack why their 1.2GHz system is faster than the other guys’ 1.7GHz box.

Apple tried it, but it didn’t work especially well for them—and people already knew Macs were weird to begin with.

AMD’s solution—check that, AMD’s coping mechanism—is to try another spin at a well-worn tactic from the bad old days, when AMD and Cyrix CPUs played a sad second fiddle to Intel’s: the Pentium Rating. Well, it’s not exactly the Pentium Rating, but it is this: assigning a model number to a CPU based on relative performance rather than clock speed.

When we first caught wind of AMD’s plans on this front, Dissonance teed off. He wrote:

While Intel has been able to capitalize on Joe Sixpack’s love of high numbers, AMD’s naming scheme would only manipulate it. AMD isn’t lying outright, but there’s an air of deception when one defies industry standards that even the MHz-crippled Mac adheres to. If AMD’s naming scheme didn’t so closely resemble the MHz values posted by Intel, then it could be forgiven here. However, using model numbers similar in value to MHz, in an attempt to compare performance with Intel, only does the consumer a disservice by failing to disclose the processor’s actual speed.

Techies don’t tend to like marketing types and their plans anyhow, but when a hint of deception is in the air, we close in like a pack of dogs.

Truth be told, though, AMD’s plans aren’t quite as sinister as all that. We should start by acknowledging that AMD is actually in quite the bind here, and there’s not a simple, easy, obvious answer to the dilemma. Much as we’d like to think folks could be educated to understand why clock speeds aren’t a reliable indicator of performance, the fact is that they’ve been taught to believe in MHz as such an indicator for the past 20 years. AMD’s success on this front could only be partial at best.

Given the constraints, AMD’s solution is actually fairly savvy, even if it is imperfect. And there’s a little more to it than the initial rumors suggested.

The numbers
AMD will indeed be offering the Athlon XP in a range of models, including the current flagship, the Athlon XP 1800+. These model numbers will be assigned to different frequency processors like so:

The “plus” after each number supposedly denotes that the Athlon XP is actually faster than competing chips at 1.8GHz. But don’t take my word for it. For the best example of how AMD’s new marketing scheme works, take a long, hard gander at this sample retail PC price tag:

This price tag tells it all. Note a couple of things. First, the CPU model number is prominently displayed, but the clock speed isn’t entirely hidden, either. Instead, there’s an asterisk next to “QuantiSpeed architecture” that points to the fine print, where the clock speed is listed. This scheme is actually quite similar to what some of our readers suggested in the great debate over this issue. It’s a small step, but an important one, to disclose the actual clock rate of the processor. Doing so avoids the appearance of deception.

Second, there’s this whole “QuantiSpeed” name. This name is the latest in a time-honored tradition of questionable names assigned to technologies by marketing departments. Such names usually signify a technology or a collection of features that may or may not be related to one another—or to reality. These names are often chosen to evoke something specific that a marketer wants to communicate about a product. In this case, QuantiSpeed is the name AMD has given to the Palomino architecture, and it’s clearly intended to evoke, in a sense, that its time is more valuable—that it delivers more work per clock.

Before the Intel fanboys start hooting, they should pause to consider Intel’s own use of loopy marketing terms. NetBurst, anyone? That one is chosen to correspond with Intel’s whole “makes the Internet go faster” line, which is a load of bunk. Other Pentium 4 marketing terms? How about these: Advanced transfer cache, Hyper pipelined technology, Rapid execution engine, and Advanced dynamic execution.

No serious chip geek is going to look under the hood and think, “Oh, it’s got a Rapid Execution Engine,” but the terms do serve an important marketing purpose—much as I hate to admit it.

That sample price tag speaks volumes about where AMD is going with this thing. I think the few simple twists they’ve added are quite clever. And there’s one more twist.

 

Where the numbers come from
There is the question of how AMD arrives at a number to assign to its new processors that will accurately reflect how the Athlon XP stacks up to the competition. If that estimate is too high, as so many of the old Pentium Rating numbers employed by Cyrix were, it will leave folks with a bad taste in their mouths. If the estimate is too low, AMD risks losing any competitive edge they’d hoped to gain with this numbering scheme. Overshoot or undershoot and AMD’s customers and partners will be unhappy.

To avoid comparing themselves directly to the Pentium 4, AMD decided to make the model numbers “convey performance relative to other AMD Athlon processors.” In other words, they’re using Athlon Thunderbirds as a basis for comparison, not Pentium 4s. This move neatly sidesteps the “Pentium Rating” stigma. It also makes for a relatively conservative performance estimate for each model number, as you’ll see in our test results below.

But how does AMD arrive at these numbers? For the future, the company has big plans. AMD is promising “an industry-wide initiative to develop a new and more complete measure of performance that end-users can trust.” This new performance metric is due for rollout in 2002. When we asked, AMD had no word yet on whether a sanctions body would be formed to sanction the new metric. They also couldn’t tell us much about the likely scope of the metric—whether it would take into account performance across multiple operating systems, or whether the metric could be used to compare Pentiums and Athlons with non-x86 chips. Obviously, this effort is still in the early formative stages.

Until that new standard arrives, AMD has cooked up its own set of benchmarks to use. AMD calls the results from this suite of tests a “bridge metric.” It is intentionally and overtly temporary (at least for now; these things tend to grow roots). This performance metric is comprised of 14 different benchmarks which make use code from 34 separate applications. Most of the component tests will be familiar to TR readers; they’re tests like SysMark, Business Winstone, Content Creation Winstone, 3DMark, Expendable, and Quake III Arena. AMD has divided these tests into three categories—visual computing, gaming, and office productivity—each of which is weighted equally. Inside each category, each sub-test is weighted equally, as well.

The list is notable for its lack of tests using Linux or other non-Windows operating systems. We here at TR don’t get the chance to test in Linux as much as we’d like simply because of limits on our time and resources. AMD’s slight is a little more significant because they’re an x86 CPU manufacturer, and because of the way this metric will be put to use. I’m sure Linux fans will have a thing or two to say about the snub, but then again, Linux users are more likely to understand the disjunction between clock speeds and overall performance.

Model numbers in action
To get a sense for how the model number scheme will work in practice, have a look at the BIOS boot screen pictures below. As you can see, the BIOS prominently displays the model number without showing the clock speed. I decided to have some fun with this setup, so I overclocked the Athlon XP to 1610MHz on a 140MHz bus (yep, it was stable there at the default voltage). At boot time, the model name came up as “1900+”. So I decided to really turn the crank, up to 1645MHz. At that speed, the BIOS just threw up its hands and reported a clock speed.


At default clock speeds, only the model number is shown


Overclocked to 1610MHz, the processor model name jumps to 1900+


Overclocked to 1645MHz, the BIOS gives up on the naming thing

As AMD releases new processor speeds, BIOS updates will probably be needed in order to keep the model numbers up to date.

Once in Windows, utilities like WCPUID show the processor clock speed just fine, and the BIOS passes along the name string to the utility, as well. Like so:

Overclocked, the story is the same as in the BIOS boot screen:

Hiding the processor’s actual clock speed in the boot screen seems a little heavy handed, but I’m not sure how else AMD can avoid confusion. Joe Sixpack is going to want to see that 1800+ number once he’s shelled out the cash for an 1800+ system.

Anyhow, that’s about it for AMD’s new model numbering methods. Love it or hate it, that’s how it works. Let’s move on to the benchmarks see how the Athlon XP really performs.

 

Our testing methods
We decided to give our tried-and-true test suite one more run before putting it out to pasture in favor of Windows XP, new drivers, and newer applications. AMD shipped its eval systems with Windows XP installed and encouraged testing in XP, but the OS isn’t widely available yet, so we decided to wait a little longer before switching. We abandoned Win98 testing quite a while ago, and Win2K should produce comparative benchmark results very similar to Windows XP

Going back to the well one more time also allowed us to include comparative data for a broad range of systems, from a lowly Celeron 900MHz to the fastest Pentium 4.

As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Tests were run at least twice, and the results were averaged.

Our test systems were configured like so:

  Socket A (DDR) Socket A (PC133) Socket 423 Socket 478 Socket 370
Processor AMD Athlon 1.2GHz
AMD Athlon MP 1.2GHz
AMD Athlon 1.4GHz
AMD Athlon XP 1800+ 1.53GHz
AMD Athlon 1GHz
AMD Duron 1GHz
AMD Duron 1.1GHz
Intel Pentium 4 1.4GHz
Intel Pentium 4 1.6GHz
Intel Pentium 4 1.8GHz
Intel Pentium 4 2GHz Intel Celeron 900MHz
Intel Celeron 1.1GHz
 Intel Pentium III 1.2GHz
Front-side bus 133MHz (266MHz DDR) 100MHz (200MHz DDR) 100MHz (400MHz quad-pumped) 100MHz (400MHz quad-pumped) 100MHz (Celeron)
133MHz (PIII)
Motherboard Gigabyte GA-7DX rev. 4.0 Asus A7VI-VM Intel D850GB Intel D850MD Intel D815EEA2
Chipset AMD 760/VIA hybrid VIA KM133 Intel 850 Intel 850 Intel 815EP
North bridge AMD 761 VIA VT8365 82850 MCH 82850 MCH 82815 MCH
South bridge VIA VT82C686B VIA VT8231 82801BA ICH2 82801BA ICH2 82801BA ICH2
Memory size 256MB (1 DIMM) 256MB (1 DIMM) 256MB (2 RIMMs) 256MB (2 RIMMs) 256MB (1 DIMM)
Memory type Micron PC2100 DDR SDRAM CAS 2 Infineon PC133 SDRAM CAS 2 Samsung PC800 Rambus DRAM Samsung PC800 Rambus DRAM Infineon PC133 SDRAM CAS 2
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce3 64MB (12.41 video drivers)
Sound Creative SoundBlaster Live!
Storage IBM 75GXP 30.5GB 7200RPM ATA/100 hard drive
OS Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
OS updates Windows 2000 Service Pack 2, Direct X 8.0a

The test systems’ Windows desktops were set at 1024×768 in 32-bit color at a 75Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.

What to watch for in our test results
There are a number of things we’ll want to watch out for when looking through the test results. Naturally, the most important question is: “Which processor is fastest?” Last we tested, the Pentium 4 2GHz just barely came out king of the hill. The Athlon XP has a good shot to regain the top spot for AMD.

Beyond that, we’ve changed the playing field a little bit by giving our Athlon testbed CAS 2 memory instead of the CAS 2.5 DIMM we used before. It’s possible this minor change, all by itself, could shift the balance of power. The T-bird Athlon 1.4GHz could potentially overtake the Pentium 4 2GHz now, leaving the 2GHz P4 in the number-three spot.

We’ll also want to see how the Palomino core compares to the T-bird. To make that comparison possible at the same clock speed, we’ve tested a T-bird Athlon and an Athlon MP processor (Palomino), both at 1.2GHz. The Thunderbird versus Palomino question is especially interesting because AMD’s new ratings system is supposedly based on how the Athlon XP compares to previous Athlon processors, as we mentioned above.

Similarly, we’ll want to watch how the Athlon XP 1800+ stacks up against AMD’s real target, the P4 1.8GHz. AMD claims the “plus” denotes performance superior to a competing 1.8GHz processor, and by that they mean the Pentium 4. Is AMD’s estimate too optimistic? Too conservative? Or did they somehow manage to land at just the right balance?

 
Memory performance
As always, these memory tests are for exhibition only; they don’t denote application-level performance, just the real-world ability to move memory efficiently. On that front, we’re expecting the Athlon XP to be quite a bit more capable than the Athlon Thunderbird, thanks to the XP’s hardware pre-fetch. Let’s see if our expectations are met.

Both of the Palomino processors—the Athlon XP and Athlon MP—are faster than the T-birds, particularly in the integer tests. That fact bodes well for the Athlon XP; the processor can likely put its DDR memory to good use, as predicted.

Nevertheless, the Pentium 4 with RDRAM rules this test, as usual. Let’s use Linpack to dig under the surface a little bit.

Linpack graphs aren’t the easiest to read. Take a second to look at the axis labels, though, and you’ll get it. We’re measuring processing throughput here, in megaflops, for data matrices of different sizes. The small matrices, on the left half of the graph, fit into the processors’ L1 and L2 caches, so processing throughput is high. On the right half of the graph, where the matrices are too large to fit into the caches, performance drops. It’s there, at the larger data sizes, where we get a better sense of main system memory bandwidth. Overall, the shape of the graph gives us a nice visual picture of how a system’s tiered memory architecture performs.

The Pentium 4 reaches its peak at about 192K, when everything fits into its L1 and L2 caches, and the numbers are crunching. Its peak performance is just under the 1.4GHz Athlon’s. When it has to go to main memory, once the matrices get bigger than about 256K (in the right half of the graph), the P4 doesn’t drop off nearly as much as the others. That’s because the P4’s very fast accessing its main memory, and its dual RDRAM channels deliver gobs of bandwidth. All in all, it’s an impressive performance.

Unlike the Pentium 4, the Athlon XP’s L2 cache doesn’t duplicate data stored in its L1 data cache. As a result, the Athlon’s effective total cache size is larger. The Athlon XP doesn’t really drop off going to main memory until we hit about 320K. However, the Athlon XP’s L2 cache is a tad slower than the P4’s; you can see, at about 64K, where the Athlon XP has to start moving beyond its L1 data cache into it slower L2 cache, and the MFLOPs drop off.

When it comes time to go out to main memory, the Athlon XP easily outruns the T-bird. That’s hardware pre-fetch in action.

 

Business Winstone 2001
Business Winstone tests performance in general office applications, like word processors, spreadsheets, and web browsers. This test is also usually a good indicator of overall system performance, especially where “light use” patterns are concerned (in other words, not gaming, heavy computation, or multimedia).

The Athlon XP 1800+ shows its stuff here, taking a commanding lead in Business Winstone. The Athlon 1.4GHz pulls ahead of the Pentium 4 2GHz, too, thanks to faster CAS 2 memory this time around.

Content Creation Winstone 2001
Content Creation Winstone is arguably more important than Business Winstone, since it tests more performance-sensitive apps, like image and audio processing suites, desktop publishing, web layout programs, and the like. As with Business Winstone, the test runs scripts using code from real applications, not just generic simulations.

In this performance-sensitive test, the Athlon XP 1800+ delivers a pretty serious whuppin’ to the competition—over six points ahead of the 2GHz Pentium 4. That 1800+ model number is already starting to look mighty modest.

 

POV-Ray 3D rendering
POV-Ray is a freeware software ray-tracing program that creates high-quality 3D scenes. It’s also a very useful measure of a processor’s performance, particularly on floating-point math. Our POV-Ray tests use the original release of POV-Ray 3.1, plus Steve Schmitt’s recompiled versions, just to see what difference the various compilers and compiler settings can make.

The recompiled POV-Ray comes in two flavors: “PIII” and “P4”. Both were produced with Intel C v. 5.0. The “PIII” version doesn’t use any instructions proprietary to Intel processors or to the PIII; it runs just fine on the Athlon and the P4. The “P4” version uses a small bit of SSE2 code, but it doesn’t take advantage of the P4’s SIMD capabilities. I’ve indicated which version of POV-Ray was used in the graphs below next to the processor/speed labels, so it should be easy to track.

Also, because of time constraints, I’ve omitted results for the value processors here.

The Athlon XP continues the Athlon’s tradition of handling older, legacy code well. Here, the original compiled version of POV-Ray is markedly slower, but the Athlon XP 1800+ manages to render the scene about 24 seconds faster than the Pentium 4 does. With the newer, recompiled versions, the Pentium 4 puts in a respectable showing, but the Athlon XP still comes out on top.

The chess2 scene is quite a bit more intensive than our first POV-Ray scene. Objects in chess2 reflect light realistically through ray tracing, and as a result, the scene takes much longer to render, even at the same resolution. And here the Athlon XP does even better, as all the faster Athlons bunch up near the top of the chart. The Athlon’s superscalar, fully pipelined floating point unit is nearly a force of nature.

LAME MP3 encoding
LAME is the encoder of choice around Damage Labs for high-quality output, so this test holds some interest for me. More speed for MP3 encoding is always good.

You were expecting something else? ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Quake III Arena
Now we’re on the Pentium 4’s home turf. The P4 just loves Quake III Arena. Can the Palomino enhancements make the Athlon competitive again here?

For once, the 1800+ model name doesn’t look like an underestimate. Still, the Athlon XP has moved much closer to the Pentium 4 in Quake III performance. With a little more memory bandwidth than the 760 chipset can provide, the Athlon XP 1800+ might be running neck-and-neck with the Pentium 4 2GHz.

Notice, also, how the 1.2GHz Athlon MP manages a 10 frame per second lead over the 1.2GHz T-bird. The Palomino’s enhancements definitely help out here.

Serious Sam
We generally graph results from this OpenGL first-person shooter using a nifty time scale, like so. However, that sort of graph is almost impossible to read with so many processors and speeds, so we’ve had to resort to averages.

The Athlon XP 1800+ is nearly 20% faster than the 2GHz P4 in this test.

3DMark 2001
3DMark’s DirectX 8-based tests stress a system in some different ways. Most scenes are absolutely loaded with triangles, and advanced graphics features, including AGP performance, are on prominent display.

The field of contenders in 3DMark 2001 lines up about like it does in Quake III Arena. In only the second test so far, the Athlon XP 1800+ comes out slower than the 1.8GHz Pentium 4.

 

SPECviewperf workstation graphics
Viewperf measures a different brand of graphics performance: professional OpenGL applications like CAD and 3D modeling. These workstation-class apps often stress a system in different ways than the gaming tests.

Normally, we’d throw all the viewperf results into one large graph, but this time around, we had too many different processors and clock speeds to do so comfortably. Individual graphs are the order of the day. I’ve omitted results for the ProCDRS test. Every single CPU scored between 16.03 and 16.07 on ProCDRS.

The Awadvs test is limited by our GeForce3 video card in this test. Once the processors reach a certain level of performance, the results all come out about the same.

There’s a wide gap here between the Athlon 1.2GHz and the Athlon MP 1.2GHz. I’m not sure if it’s SSE instructions or hardware pre-fetch or what, but the performance difference between the two CPUs is striking.

With the exception of Light and Awadvs, the tests are a back-and-forth battle between the Athlon XP 1800+ and the Pentium 4 2GHz for the top spot. These two CPUs are extremely well matched for workstation 3D graphics apps.

 

Speech recognition
The Sphinx speech recognition tests came to us via Ricky Houghton, who works in a speech recognition effort at Carnegie Mellon University. They’re based on Sphinx 3.3, which is an advanced system that promises greater accuracy in speech recognition. However, Sphinx 3.3 still can’t quite run fast enough on a standard PC to handle tasks in real time, as you can see below.

The Palomino enhancements put the Athlon XP in the running in Sphinx 3.3. Sphinx really likes hardware pre-fetch logic. All of the top seven slots are occupied by CPUs with pre-fetch capabilities, and there’s a noticeable speed gap between the processors with and without pre-fetch.

None of the processors here is quite able to run Sphinx in real time, but the time is drawing near. If either the Athlon XP or Pentium 4 gets a faster memory subsystem soon, Sphinx will finally be running faster than real time.

ScienceMark
On to Tim Wilkens’ computational benchmark, ScienceMark. This suite of tests measures number-crunching ability by running some computationally intensive scientific equations. Like 3DMark, ScienceMark then spits out a composite number denoting a system’s overall score in the suite.

Here’s how our contenders fared:

If you plan to be talking smack in the physics lab, you’d darn well better have an Athlon XP system under that lab coat. The Athlon XP takes this one in a walk. When you bust it out into some of the individual tests, the results are like so:

The Athlon XP shows broad strength, while the Pentium 4 demonstrates a special aptitude for Primordia.

 

Conclusions
Well, there’s not much I can say for the Athlon XP that the preceding test results haven’t already said for it. It’s the fastest x86-compatible processor on the planet, and by more than just a hair. AMD has easily recaptured the performance lead from Intel, courtesy of an old-fashioned whoopin’. At 1.53GHz, AMD’s Palomino core delivers serious speed.

Whether AMD’s new marketing plan will delivers similar success in the sales department remains to be seen. It’s clear that AMD has been very conservative with their model number ratings for the Athlon XP, which is probably for the best. There’s little reason why some know-it-all ought to be able to complain that the Athlon XP 1800+’s performance isn’t really on par with a 1.8GHz Pentium 4. I’m curious to see how this model numbering scheme works out for AMD.

The Athlon XP arrives with some very competitive prices, although they aren’t quite as crazy cheap as T-birds have been of late. Liberated from matching Intel at price-per-MHz, AMD has established a much more sane pricing strategy with the Athlon XP. Initial prices for the different speed grades line up like so:

1800+ $252
1700+ $190
1600+ $160
1500+ $130

AMD says the Thunderbird Athlon chips will continue to be available into 2002, and these chips will not receive the model number treatment. On the SMP front, AMD will continue to release Athlon MP processors as separate products; the company says Athlon XP processors will not be tested or validated for use in dual-processor systems.

All in all, the Athlon XP looks very good. However, I should mention something. Last time out, when the P4 2GHz captured the performance lead from AMD, I said it was only a matter of time before AMD recaptured the lead. Turns out I was right. This time around, the roles are reversed. Intel is reportedly readying its Northwood Pentium 4 chip for release. When Northwood hits the streets with its 0.13-micron die shrink and 512K of L2 cache, it will give the Athlon XP the fight of its life. Until then, though, the Athlon XP is the undisputed heavyweight champion. 

Comments closed
    • IntelMole
    • 18 years ago

    (finishes post and puts on flame protection body amour and headgear. Sprints to car with a snipe-proof body and burns rubber… :-P)

    • IntelMole
    • 18 years ago

    Okay, I’m bored, don’t snipe me on this…

    I was just browsing thru the AMD site and I encountered this li’l comparison between P4 and XP… Including an IPC bit…

    Assuming that they are correct in stating the XP has an IPC of 9 and the P4 of 6:

    1.53 * 9.00 = 13.77
    2.00 * 6.00 = 12.00
    2.20 * 6.00 = 13.20

    Here we see that unless Intel manage to up the IPC for the Northwood (which it might a little bit with the extra cache etc.), the XP should reign supreme in all but the Q3A and 3DMark benches…

    I’m estimating, from a purely guessing point of view, that the cache might increase the IPC of P4 by up to 1/2 an IPC… they will have to increase it though by over 1/4 IPC…

    2.20 * 6.25 = 13.75

    Sorry if I’m whining on here, and I’m probably wrong, but it still looks as if the XP can hold on for a while…

    One last thing, if the 1900+ was to be released within spitting distance of the 2.2 P4, then the XP would still reign by a long way… 1610MHz was it?

    1.61 * 9.00 = 14.49
    2.20 * 6.50 = 14.30

    (Some notes: That last one was assuming that Intel get the P4 up to 6.5 IPC. I’ve also ommited all them zeros because they have no real effect on the results, i.e. all the results cancel down.)

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • IntelMole
    • 18 years ago

    Okay, so now we’ve got over the whole “yeay yeay AthlonXP is great everyone!” thing, can I be really picky here?

    Why does AMD STILL not include a decent use of the DDR memory…

    Using DDR properly gives u 2100 MB … okay I know that the P4 only uses 1/2 it’s bandwidth available, but the point is the bandwidth is there for media and stuff that use it, but AMD still don’t use the stuff…

    Apart from that, keep it up AMD with the chips and the flash stuff on ur site, definitly and improvement :-),
    IntelMole

    • Craig P.
    • 18 years ago

    [q]Uh, Craig P.? You’ve got to look at the P4, not the Athlon 1.4 – the actual increase is over 16%. ;)[/q]Oops, sorry. -Just- over 16%. OK, closer to 15% than 20%. Still a little far to be calling it “nearly,” anyway.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    My local vendor now has Athlon XP 1600,1700 pricing… whoa.
    I just don’t get Intel with their pentium pricing… obviously they don’t see that Athlon is taking over the consumer market.

    With Windows2000/XP now fully supporting Athlon… Intel could go the way of IBM.

    • Aphasia
    • 18 years ago

    Then you have the Child walking with his parent analogue…
    The child have to take more steps to achieve the same distance or speed, while the adult take fewer steps….
    Athlon=Adult
    P4=Child

    cheers

    • TwoFer
    • 18 years ago

    IntelMole (#59), that link has some interesting stuff. To quote:[q]Picture this: A Blue Car with a 6-cylinder engine is racing a Green Car with a more powerful, 8-cylinder engine. The Blue Car’s engine works hard by running at high RPMs. The Green Car, on the other hand, runs at lower RPMs but can [b]blow the doors off[/b] the Blue Car. Why? Because the Green Car is designed for a [b]more efficient, faster driving experience.[/b][/q] Wasn’t it Dissonance who recently whined that automobile analogies had no place in computer discussions? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Well, to keep him happy, they also did a bicycle one: [q]Two cyclists ride together on 10-speed bikes. One cyclist uses the 10th gear and pedals slower but moves faster down the road and ocvers a [b]great distance[/b] with each stroke. The other cyclist uses 1st gear and has to pedal like a lunatic to achieve the same speed and cover the same ground as his partner.[/q]Heh, heh… at least they’re trying.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    amd tech site says it does 9 ops per clock cycle,
    and intel only 6.

    why not call XP 9×1.53 or 13.77
    compared to intel’s 6×2 or 12.00

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    Clearly Athlon (like the gold ole boys down in Redmond) is listening to the average user… good solid easy computing done cheaply.
    ————
    Good, solid, cheap?
    The Amiga was out 10 years before the stupid term ‘multimedia’ was coined. MS crapware was still chirpring from its internal speaker and commandline was norm. Was this listening to the average user? Is MS’ licensing really cheap?

    • IntelMole
    • 18 years ago

    hey every1, I know I’m slow and every1 has already read the site already in a bid to find out as much as possible, but head on over to ยง[<http://athlonxp.amd.com<]ยง if u fancy a lesson in PR That's Public Relations, not Pentium Rating :-), IntelMole

    • Forge
    • 18 years ago

    Gag. Slipping in factless WinXP praise, in a comment full of AthlonXP praise. What about those of us who never really loved Windows at all? There are quite a few of us, and I’d imagine a lot of people have a comment to make about ‘XP is the best OS ever made…. period’.

    • IntelMole
    • 18 years ago

    Right, 37, you are an Intel fanboy, and you wouldn’t be too far off if u called me an AMD fanboy, well at the moment anyway…

    You bring up absolutely nothing to prove what you are saying… whereas we in the know, er, KNOW that Intel has been loosing market share almost constantly ever since the Athlon gained a real prominence, despite Intel having “money for superior engineers” and all that bull… now that the P4 is out @ 2GHz, it has probably been gaining a little bit of market share (though I doubt it, but I have no figures to disprove it and the whole clock speed disparity thing would suggest this…).

    Now that the Athlon XP is out, AMD’s share should go back up again… note the brilliant piece of marketing (marketing?AMD?)
    “Outperforms competing 1.8GHz processors” then “QuantiSpeed runs at 1.53GHz”

    picture the scene: J. Sixpack reads paper… reads ad…
    “helloooo…. Outperforms 1.8GHz … runs at 1.53GHz” (hype overload starts in the brain of Joe Sixpack) “OMG I gotta rush down to the store/newspaper shop to get the deal on this…” (jumps off chair, puts can of beer down, puts his trainers on, and sprints to the nearest magazine outfit…belly goin like a bra-less breast up and down up and down ๐Ÿ™‚

    1 converted customer…

    AMD are bang on the money in my view to show Joe Sixpack that their tech is faster by using the Model stuff…

    Just my opinion, and no offence to all you skinny Americans out there, you know who you are :-),
    IntelMole

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    Athlon XP couldn’t be more aptly named.

    XP is the best OS ever made… period… and Athlon XP is probably the best CPU ever made… period. I can’t wait for October 25th so that I can order my new box and marry the two.

    Clearly Athlon (like the gold ole boys down in Redmond) is listening to the average user… good solid easy computing done cheaply. I don’t know what Intel is thinking these days… they are pricing themselves out of a market. tsk tsk

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    Good try AMD, but you’re not long for this world and we’ll really miss ya. (And those are sincere words). But the bottom line is — Life is tough, Life is rough. And $$$ rules.
    —————
    According to that logic, the guy with the most money will always have the most money and will ‘rule’ his domain for eternity. Unfortunately, things are little different in reality, or ‘life’.

    Not saying that Intel is going down the crapper anytime soon, but neither am I saying that AMD is. We’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?

    For all we know, a breakthrough could come out of a complete unknown company and they’ll lead the pack for the next 20 years because of their superior tech alone. You just never know..

    • h0rus
    • 18 years ago

    Hehe.

    ’37’ is obviously a troll. You people must be mad bored to even acknowledge ‘him’.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    Uh, Craig P.? You’ve got to look at the P4, not the Athlon 1.4 – the actual increase is over 16%. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Craig P.
    • 18 years ago

    BTW, very interesting that on Sphinx, it’s the AMD processors that benefit from the Intel compilers. I found that amusing.

    • Craig P.
    • 18 years ago

    Page 9, Serious Sam – it’s just under 15% advantage, not nearly 20%. It’s closer to 10% than 20%. (120 to 106, difference of 14)

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    #37
    I saw a past were nvidia struggled thru hard days and overcame.
    I saw a ignorant company that wouldnt accept there own destruction dispite it was sitting upon them.
    I saw a graphicsgiant killed by the brave David.
    I saw the death of 3dfx.

    Ring a bell?

    The only prob here is that now the roles are reversed.
    Power corrupts, and thats the truth. But somewere, somehow, somone, wait for the right moment and overcome.

    Death to intel and their ignorance, Hail AMD.

    And jesss im full off crap…. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    Fallow up to 47

    Oh-yeah, and I get the same performce or EVEN better then the p4…now that is life, must be a crummy shack you are living in #37.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    #37

    I dont know about you but life is not always tough, its how tough you make it yourself.

    For example: my 2 new rig, both going to the be Athlon XP 1800+ for about $500 or less. Now if I bought 2 p4’s thats $1000+. Thats a 500 difference. Life is tough…what should I buy with the $500 I’ve save? =oP

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    #37 – If Intel has superior technology and superior engineers, then how come the 0.18u AthlonXP’s are faster than the 0.18u P4’s (and 0.18u 3’s for that matter).

    AMD haven’t even reached the end of the line with their 0.18u AthlonXP’s yet. They are going to get a whole lot faster (probably 1.8GHz – maybe 1.866GHz) before they need to move to 0.13u.

    Intel only has a chance of staying ahead of AMD through superior manufacturing processes, not through superior engineering, design or technology of their CPU’s.

    AMD has trounced Intel at every step since they introduced the Athlon over 2 years ago, it’s only Intel’s superior marketplace acceptance that’s been keeping it wrongfully in the position it currently holds today.

    If you want to talk about a joke, how about Timna? Itanium? i820 MCP? FDIV? RDRAM for P3?

    Intel needed the P4 and they needed it bad. Frankly it’s the only good thing they have going for them today, and frankly if that’s as good as it gets for Intel’s design engineers today, then they really have fallen a long way from the “good ol’ days”.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    31,

    Fair Enough. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • indeego
    • 18 years ago

    Was the ibm drive firmware upgraded?
    Were the Intel and AMD chipset drivers updated?

    Never see the small things like these that may also make a difference…

    • superchode
    • 18 years ago

    #37, there’s so much more to it than that.

    You say Intel can afford better engineers… true… but you’re obviously not one of them. Most computer/electrical engineers I know do not WANT to work for Intel… shitty work – one drone amoungst the thousands with no real reward aside from a paycheck.

    For myself, and most of my collegues (sp?), I’d much rather be an actual, contributing (in some finite way) part of a project… an opportunity much more likely to be given at a place like AMD than Intel.

    The rest of your catch phrases and buzzwords are empty enough to not require rebuttal…. but I’m sure there will be more volunteers to sit your gerbil ass back down.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    haha just saw this at the shack:

    ยง[<http://users.eastlink.ca/~willm/moneyshoes/<]ยง I think Microsoft should buy them and make Money Shoes XP.

    • Forge
    • 18 years ago

    diss – TheInq isn’t entirely in the know. There are lots of folks with contacts much better than theirs (No insult to TheInq intended.)

    Hammer will be out before H2 2002. Mark my words.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    #37 are you for real?

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    We need a moderation system so we can moderate down people with their heads up their asses like #37. Doesnt even provide anything to back up his claims, just spouts off stuff that sounds good to him?

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    Let AMD struggle all it wants, like a rabbit in a snare. Intel rules with P4 from here on out. Yes, those are hard words, but so is Life.

    This is not to detract from fact that AMD made a darn good try and Athlon was pretty decent chip.. It’s just to acknowledge that Intel has the money for superior technology, superior engineers. And regarding Hammer, don’t get your hopes up. According to Ace’s latest thread it’s not till well into next year. Intel engineers have news for ya’ Hammer: you’re too little, too late — a day late and a dollar short.

    Good try AMD, but you’re not long for this world and we’ll really miss ya. (And those are sincere words). But the bottom line is — Life is tough, Life is rough. And $$$ rules.

    • Kevin
    • 18 years ago

    Great article Damage. Must been quite a bit of work benching all those different CPUs. Now that post you made a week ago begins to make sense. :p

    Although, it’s still not quite enough for me to want to upgrade. Maybe the 0.13 micron Athlons on the SOI process might change my mind. Of course, if someone wanted to give me one of these AlthonXP 1.53 GHz chips, I sure wouldn’t complain. But then I would need a new board and DDR RAM…..and then I wouldn’t eat the last two weeks in the month.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    Well, from that little anecdote of yours, that means that 1 in 6 “Joe SixPack” type people you know actually take care of their computers.

    j/k =P

    Really, though, that little story was encouraging . . . though the market probably says otherwise.

    • Samlind
    • 18 years ago

    #20 – great new category, mind if I borrow it?

    Joe Six Pack ain’t as dumb as we might thing. I got “kinfolk” in West Virginia, and I went and saw them last weekend. One in particular wanted me to come and look over his computer….and help him clean squirrels in the garage. (14 squirrels, 13 of them head-shots – didn’t want to spoil the meat ๐Ÿ˜› I didn’t make that up, and around there it’s not exceptional shooting. )

    When I got there, I found a 300a Celery Compaq, well-maintained, hard drive defragged, most all the stuff backed up, no “crap” internet apps installed, everything working, no yellow flags in the device manager… Better than the last 5 systems I’ve seen from people who work on computers all day and who should know better.

    His biggest problem is 64mb of memory. But he’s convinced he needs a new system. “What kind of system do you want?” “Well, ah figure ah should buy one of them Athlons, don’t you get the most bang for yore buck thataway?”

    Amazing.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    #28 . . . Darth Vader? =P

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    But you see, sites like these are founded on the premise of showing off your cock.
    ————
    They are? What I was getting at was the tech geek knows the truth behind the numbers, but the proverbial Joe only wants the numbers, and “believes” in the numbers, but doesn’t investigate further. Most average people just want numbers. The truth behind the numbers is rarely ever communicated to them, let alone seen in action.

    Hope I’ve cleared things up on that post..

    • Damage
    • 18 years ago

    IntelMole:

    I didn’t even bother with stats. We’ve cut over to a new server just now because the other box was crushed.

    • dalamar70
    • 18 years ago

    They’re not going to get sued for false advertising until RAM makers are sued for “PC2100” memory first.

    • IntelMole
    • 18 years ago

    Oh yeah and Damage, how many hits has this site had since that article was published? It was MAJOR slow in responding a while back ๐Ÿ™‚

    (8) Where have all the new servers gone (8),
    IntelMole

    • IntelMole
    • 18 years ago

    As the great “Somebody-who-I-Can’t-Quite-Think-of-Now-But- I’m-Sure-they’re-Important” said:

    “Hmmmm, impressive” ๐Ÿ™‚

    I know wot I want for Christmas anyway… hehe same thing as last year, presents. I’m gonna get an XP/T’Bred in my new system come springtime next year ๐Ÿ™‚

    u realise that all the T-Breads are feeding on the technology of the T-Birds?,
    IntelMole

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    Personally, I think it was very smart of them to go conservative on their “Model Numbers”. Especially since the 1800+ trounces the 2Ghz P4, imagine what it would do to a 1.8Ghz P4

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    22,

    HAHAHA.

    But you see, sites like these are founded on the premise of showing off your cock. It all circulates around learning which are the fastest and best setups. So you can get to brag about your new setup to your friends. It is all about bragging rights. Do you expect me to believe that most people here actually USE the 1GHZ+ that they buy? Very few people HERE and in other forums actually NEED 1GHZ+. Don’t give me that bullshit. ๐Ÿ™‚ Another example of this is HardOCP. It is infamous for showing its cock off, and encouraging people to show off theirs, as well. There isn’t anything wrong with this, but please stop trying to pass it off as something it is not.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    hey damage I just got this while loading up this page:

    i[< b[< Fatal error: Maximum execution time of 30 seconds exceeded in c:\apache\apache\htdocs\include\ne_newslib.x(34) : eval()'d code on line 44 <]b <]i

    • Pete
    • 18 years ago

    [i]AMD is gonna get their asses sued about this new PR marketing scheme. [/i]

    Nowhere in “Athlon XP 1800+” does it state “MHz.” Thus, AMD cannot credibly be sued for deceptive advertising. If you’re going to complain that Joe Blow (happy, 20? ;p) didn’t get his money’s worth, you won’t get far, as nearly every benchmark proves AMD’s marketspeak correct, if not conservative.

    A reassuring showing from AMD. If the next gen of processors will be as big a leap as the next gen of 3D cards, then I’ll get exited. Until then, I’ll keep plodding along on my P3-866.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    Sometimes we get so absorbed staring at benchmarks we forget that as long as Joe Sixpack can do everything he wants to do as fast as he wants to do it–he aint’ gonna care much.
    ———-
    No, see. Joe Sixpack is not a geek. He wants bragging rights. He doesn’t want anything to undermine those bragging rights. He works on a different level. Performance is secondary to bragging rights for Joe SixPack. Tech geek knows better.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    >>>>>>Interesting …

    At THG, specifically
    ยง[<http://www.tomshardware.com/cpu/01q4/011009/athlonxp-06.html<]ยง and ยง[<http://www.tomshardware.com/cpu/01q4/011009/athlonxp-08.html<]ยง Running Quake 3 Arena, and the NV15 demo, the Athlon XP1800+ gets HIGHER frame rate scores than a P4 2GHz, whether the P4 be on i850/RDRAM or P4X266/DDR. I think that's the first time I've seen the P4 have its ass handed to it in Q3A...>>>> That is because TOM is a moron. As much as I like the new XP and want to beat on P4's with sticks, I will give them Q3A, everytime. No matter what I do a P4 always beats an XP in Q3, it is lame, but true.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    #7, if i hear the name ‘joe sixpack’ in any of these threads i’m going to go nuts. YOU’RE joe sixpack. dont you get it? makes me want to vomit all over my monitor.

    whats next? Jane BottledWater?

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    Clarification on the comparison here:

    As far as I understand it, the model numbers are designed to compare against the UPCOMING P4 Northwood with a 512K L2 cache. Because Northwood is not here yet, the numbers look a bit conservative against current P4’s.

    Also, when looking at current T-bird vs. New XP performance, I’m guessing they derived their 1800 # from benchmarks where the original T-bird suffers from a lack of SSE support. Given the tremendous jump the Palomino takes in certain SSE-enabled benchmarks, this could certainly be true.

    As to the PR ratings, keep something in mind: First off, Cyrix chips did not have their claims reviewed by an outside source–AMD has hired Anderson Consulting to verify all performance claims.

    Secondly, Cyrix chips were clearly inferior to the Pentium’s they claimed equivalence too. The exact opposite is true here. The Athlon is making a conservative claim and even in the odd benchmark that the P4 wins Athlon performance could never be called ‘bad.’

    After all, if I’m Joe Sixpack and I buy an Athlon 1800 that ONLY gets 180 fps in Quake 3….well geez folks, am I gonna complain?

    Sometimes we get so absorbed staring at benchmarks we forget that as long as Joe Sixpack can do everything he wants to do as fast as he wants to do it–he aint’ gonna care much.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    The whole “we’re comparing this xp processor to our old core” shyte is just that: shyte. Their protecting their arses from a lawsuit. End of story.

    Now, the performance seems to be up there, but the prices are a tad on the high side compared to the old 1.4G. I’d be picking up an older vanilla 1.4G since bargains like that are a rare find in the computer world.

    Now anyone know if mobos are actually gonna be intelligent enough to turn the XP processors off in case of fan failure?

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    To #13, If you check out the sites that used a KT266A motherboard instead of the GA-7DX(supplied by AMD) you will find that the XP 1800+ beats the 2GHz P4 in Quake3 on all those sites.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    Interesting …

    At THG, specifically
    ยง[<http://www.tomshardware.com/cpu/01q4/011009/athlonxp-06.html<]ยง and ยง[<http://www.tomshardware.com/cpu/01q4/011009/athlonxp-08.html<]ยง Running Quake 3 Arena, and the NV15 demo, the Athlon XP1800+ gets HIGHER frame rate scores than a P4 2GHz, whether the P4 be on i850/RDRAM or P4X266/DDR. I think that's the first time I've seen the P4 have its ass handed to it in Q3A...

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    #10 from what i read, the PR system is based on the performance that a TBIRD would produce. So an Athlon XP 1800+ is the same performance as a 1800 TBIRD. This logic seems flawed to me, as anyone with a speck of intelligence would compare it to a P4. Please someone prove me wrong….this is jsut seems stupid.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[Originally Posted by Trident

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    #7. It wil show a * and the actual clock speed in retail stores shelves so I’m not sure that Joe could have much of a case against AMD.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • Khopesh
    • 18 years ago

    Check this out,

    ยง[<http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/011009/92058_1.html<]ยง Saw it on Activewin. Microsoft promoting AMD processors. I'd like to see how far this goes. If I see actual TV commercials I'll be floored.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    Which is worst: QuantiSpeed or NetBurst? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    AMD is gonna get their asses sued about this new PR marketing scheme.

    Yes, as a tech-guy myself, I think AMD’s PR system is more than fair. But what will Joe Sixpack think?

    Let’s face it, many advertising writers aren’t tech-guys. I can easily see some ad-writers leaving off the “runs at 1.5 GHz” disclaimer (“I wasn’t sure what that QuantiSpeed stuff was and the numbers were confusing so I left it off”) or maybe just listing the CPU at 1.8 GHz (“It did say 1800 and that’s 1.8 GHz right?”)

    Joe Sixpack sees the ad, goes to his local friendly computer discounter, and picks up one these brand-spanking-new “1.8 GHz” systems.

    Several days after getting his PC home, Joe discovers (perhaps through a software utility or a knowledgable friend) that his “1.8 GHz” system actually runs at only 1.5 GHz.

    Joe of course is feeling pretty ripped off now. He calls up the computer maker and demands to know why his “1.8 GHz” CEE PEE YOU is running at only 1.5 GHz.

    Computer maker tries to explain to Joe about IPC and hardware prefetch and exclusive L2 caches… but Joe doesn’t care about this “nonsense”, because to Joe Sixpack anything he doesn’t understand, like IPC and hardware prefetch and exclusive L2 caches, is nonsense. If anything, Joe thinks Computer Maker is giving him the runaround.

    And what does Joe do?

    Why, he runs off to his lawyer and tells him to sue the pants off the Evil Computer Maker and the Evil CEE PEE YOU maker (litigation, after all, is America’s National Pastime).

    Enough Joe Sixpacks do this, and AMD could wind up in serious trouble, because this class-action-lawsuit-in-the-making will in all likelihood be heard by a jury packed with equally clueless Joe Sixpacks.

    I think AMD is great and understand the bind they’re in. But it’s only a matter of time before they wind up in court.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    Great article. The BIOS XP detection thing is funny but they had to do what they had to do.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    ยง[<http://www.anandtech.com<]ยง also has a review that pairs the Epox 8KHA+ (KT266A) + AthlonXP vs a 2GHz P4 on an Abit TH7-II, and the AthlonXP convincingly trounces the P4 by up to 10% (or even more at times) on about 90% of the benchmarks, and loses only very, very slightly on the other 10%.

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    One word for AMD supporters – vindication for their convictions of backing up AMD all the way.

    If you want to see the P4 @ 2GHz being handed its head on a platter in even more ways, check out the [H]ardOCP review of the AthlonXP where they pair it up with the mighty KT266A chipset, instead of the “up to 10% slower” AMD761 chipset used here.

    I know what my next upgrade will be. AthlonXP 1800+ paired with the Abit KR7-R (KT266A) which Abit has just formally announced will be on shelves within 2 weeks.

    • EasyRhino
    • 18 years ago

    Good article D.

    QuantiSpeed is a horrible abortion of a marketing term.

    And I still think the PR ratings are a bad idea… but at least it lets them use a even number stead of 1.53 ghz.

    ER

    • Anonymous
    • 18 years ago

    Pretty outstanding processor overall. Impressed how, on an aging AMD 760 chipset, it was able to surpass or meet the equivalent Intel processors. Wonder how much better it will do on the KT266A or nForce platforms =)

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This