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AMD's Athlon XP 1900+ processor

Pouring it on

JUST FOUR SHORT weeks ago, AMD released its latest revision of the Athlon processor, the Athlon XP, alongside a controversial new "model number" performance rating scheme. We reviewed the Athlon XP 1800+ model, which runs at 1.53GHz. The 1800+ managed to outpace the 2GHz Pentium 4 in a majority of our tests, and the wins were convincing enough we declared the Athlon XP 1800+ "the fastest x86-compatible processor on the planet, and by more than just a hair." The fact of the Athlon XP's performance edge was lost on some folks, however. It is true that the Pentium 4 sometimes outruns the Athlon XP in multimedia and 3D gaming, so some confusion was probably inevitable.

Today, AMD is taking things up another notch with the introduction of the Athlon XP 1900+. At 1.6GHz, this chip runs only 66MHz faster than the 1800+ model. Otherwise, the two chips are basically identical. However, we've decided to make the Pentium 4 vs. Athlon XP race a little more interesting by testing the fastest Athlon XP on a different platform this time around: VIA's new KT266A chipset, which offers significantly better performance than the AMD 760 chipset we've used in our Athlon test systems for ages now. The word on the street is that AMD is canceling production of the 760 now that superior alternatives are finally on the market, so most new Athlon XP systems aren't very likely to be built with the 760 chipset.

Can the combination of the new Athlon XP 1900+ and the KT266A chipset remove all doubts about who owns the x86 processor performance crown? Read on to find out.

The chip
Like all new Athlon XP and MP processors, the 1900+ model comes in AMD's new organic packaging.

The Athlon XP 1900+

And for those of you really into the markings and stepping numbers on a chip, here's a close-up look at the core of our Athlon XP 1900+:

Up close and personal

The "AGKGA" markings on this chip are the same as those on our Athlon XP 1800+ chip.

Enough ogling. Let's see how this puppy performs.