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AMD Processor History: An overview from the K5 to the Athlon XP

AMD Processor History: An overview from the K5 to the Athlon XP

2001: Palomino replaces Thunderbird

Until the introduction of the Pentium 4 with a clock rate of 1.4 and 1.5 GHz at the end of November 2000, AMD was able to maintain its position on the processor market with 1.1 GHz and Further expand the 1.2 GHz version of the Athlon and the 750 and 800 MHz versions of the Duron. But thanks to the new architecture of the Pentium 4, which also required a new mainboard and a separate power supply, Intel was able to significantly increase the clock frequency of its own processors without encountering thermal problems. Although it was still possible for the fastest versions of the Athlon to clearly outperform the Pentium 4 in some areas, the pace in the processor market could no longer be set and so the 'insufficiently informed crowd' of Gigahertz Bolids with Pentium 4 chips are dwindling.

At CeBIT 2001, AMD was able to present the 1.33 GHz Athlon to the public, which was available for the first time in a variant with a front-side bus of 266 MHz. Despite a lower clock rate, this processor achieved up to 40 percent more performance in some benchmarks than Intel's previously fastest Pentium 4 with 1.5 GHz. But how can you make this fact clear to the simple, uninformed buyer on the street? The fact that the clock frequency alone was no longer decisive for the performance of a computer left it a long time agodo not simply represent yourself in numbers. A new name for the company's own processors had to be found, which was carried out on October 10th with the launch of the Athlon XP after many previous rumors. And so AMD dug up the P-Rating that died years ago with the K5. Until the Athlon XP was finally introduced, AMD squeezed everything possible out of the Thunderbird and Spitfire core. The Duron with Spitefire core was accelerated up to 950 MHz, whereas the Athlon family received 1.4 GHz in June 2001, just a new member that was operating at the limit.

Duron Athlon Duron Athlon XP Code name Spitfire Thunderbird Morgan Palomino Manufacturing (µm) 0.18 0.18 0.18 0.18 Transistors 25 million 37 million 25.18 million 37.5 million CPU socket SocketA SocketA SocketA SocketA Clock rates 600 - 950 MHz 0.7 - 1.4 GHz 1 - 1.2 GHz 1.33 - 1.66 GHz Front-Side-Bus 100 MHz 100/133 MHz 100 MHz 100/133 MHz L1 cache 128KB 128KB 128KB 128KB L2 -Cache 64KB 256KB 64KB 256KB VCore 1.6V 1.75V 1.75V 1.75V Instruction sets 3DNow !, MMX 3DNow !, MMX 3DNow !, MMX, SSE1 3DNow !, MMX, SSE1 Hardware data prefetching no no yes y a

While the Palomino core, which would later do its job in the Athlon XP, had to go on sale in May 2001 with the Athlon 4, the notebook version of the Athlon the fan base has to wait an unusually long time for their desktop version. After the introduction of the finally also officially multiprocessor-capable Athlon MP with Palomino core in June and the complete overhaul of the Duron in August, which has since come with a core similar to Palomino, the Athlon XP finally started on October 10th. The introduction was sorely needed,because in the meantime Intel has already been able to supply the market with a 2 GHz Pentium 4.

AMD Athlon XP Front
AMD Athlon XP Back
AMD Duron

Future plans

Even in the near future, development at AMD will certainly not stand still. At CeBIT 2002 in March, the next Athlon core, the Thoroughbred, will most likely replace the current Palomino. Then finally AMD will also rely on the 0.13 µ manufacturing process that is currently used in the Socket 478 version of the Pentium 4, the Northwood. As a result, not only the power consumption and thus the heat development can be reduced. As a further positive side effect, this should also make significantly higher clock rates possible. The core voltage will no longer be 1.75 but 1.6 volts. The 2000+ (1660 MHz) and 2200+ (1800 Mhz) variants are planned for entry. At the end of 2002, AMD's first 64-bit processor, the Sledgehammer, will come onto the market as the grand finale. The first CPU from a series of 'hammer' processors should be able to handle both 32-bit applications and 64-bit programs. The first Intel 64 bit CPU 'Itanium' has been on the market since summer 2001. Intel itself sees the CPU more as a test object, however, it did not experience huge sales, also due to a lack of software support and horrific prices.

Note

Who can find out more about the Athlon XP and the would like to experience the new Duron with Morgan core, it will be in our AMD processor roundup, which will be published shortlyFind a lot of detailed information as well as a whole series of speed tests also and especially in relation to the direct predecessors of these processors.

As always, the forum is responsible for questions.

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