Athlon-MP: First facts and figures

Athlon-MP: First facts and figures

Now that AMD has had considerable success in the desktop PC market, they want to gain a foothold in the server market. In addition to the performance, the reliability of the systems also plays a very decisive role here.

The Athlon MP, specially designed for use with other processors, should master this task. As you can guess, the abbreviation MP in the name stands for multiprocessing. In contrast to the current Athlon Thunderbird (Model 4), it is based on the Palomino core, which is already used in the Mobile Athlon 4. AMD also presented a suitable chipset, the AMD-760-MP. It consists of the Northbridge AMD-762 and the Southbridge AMD-766. Only DDR-SDRAM according to the PC1600 or PC2100 standard can be used as main memory, there will be no support for SDRAM or even Rambus. In addition to a 4x AGP slot for graphics cards, the chipset also offers a connection for a 64-bit PCI bus. However, this only works with 33MHz and not with 66MHz, although some chipsets for dual Intel systems with 66MHz are already equipped for the future. Components that explicitly require 66MHz are still very rare. The development of the AMD 760 chipset worked closely with the motherboard manufacturer Tyan, which is why the only AMD 760 MP motherboard currently available on the market also comes from this manufacturer, the Tyan S2462. However, in a contract with AMD, Tyan has committed to supplying other mainboard manufacturers with the know-how to manufacture corresponding mainboards.

Measurements in the c “t test laboratory certified that the processor team performed surprisingly well! In some benchmarks, a dual system consisting of two AMD Athlon MP processors with 1.2 GHz could even leave a team of two Intel Xeon CPUs, which, mind you, were clocked at 1.7 GHz, quite clearly behind. At3DMark 2001, Quake 3 and the Windows Media Encoder then show the Xeon CPUs again what they can do. According to previous experience, Athlon MPs do not necessarily have to be used in the AMD 760 MP mainboards. Even normal Socket-A-Athlons can be moved to work together on the Tyan mainboard, but then crash in Quake 3.

Anyone who has considered getting a dual-Athlon system will, by the way likely to be put off by the price of the Tyan S2462. This is a proud 1700 DM, which is still within the normal range for multiprocessor mainboards. What is likely to drive the price up further is that only 'Registered DIMMs' may be used on the Tyan mainboard and specially adapted power supplies must be used. With the appearance of AMD 760 mainboards from the competition, the price may be adjusted downwards a little, but by no means move into other price regions!