AMD pushes Athlon chip to 1.33Ghz

This is part of AMD's continued ramp of its chips as it plans to have all Athlon processors at speeds of 1GHz or greater by the end of the June quarter, said Mark de Frere, AMD's Athlon brand manager. The 1.33 and 1.3GHz chips use a high-speed memory type known as DDR (double data rate) SDRAM (synchronous dynamic random access memory), and boast a 384KB of performance-boosting on-chip cache.

The 1.33GHz chip sports a 266MHz front side bus, while the 1.3GHz processor a 200MHz front-side bus, de Frere said. The bus speed affects how fast the processor can exchange data with other components in a PC.

The 1.33GHz Athlon is priced at $US350 in lots of 1000, while the 1.3GHz chip costs $US318 in the same quantities, de Frere said.

De Frere said AMD gains two benefits from its usage of DDR memory. It is cheaper for manufacturers to produce and reads and writes twice as fast as PC133 and PC100 SDRAM, de Frere said. DDR memory theoretically provides 100 per cent greater data throughput, but in actual operating conditions provides about a 10 per cent boost, de Frere said.

The new 1.33 chip offers about a 7 per cent to 8 per cent boost in performance compared to the 1.2GHz Athlon processor, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst with Insight 64. Brookwood said he is now using a computer with the processor. Much of the boost can be attributed to the use of DDR memory, he said.

The 1.2GHz Athlon chip pretty much matches or exceeds the performance of Intel's 1.5GHz Pentium 4 processor, Brookwood said. The 1.5GHz Pentium 4 processor only outdid the 1.2GHz Athlon when playing Id Software's video game Quake, or while doing video encoding, Brookwood said. The latest Athlon offering should give AMD an edge on performance until Intel comes out with its 1.7GHz Pentium 4, he said. The 1.33 and 1.3GHz Athlon processors offers quality performance at a competitive price, Brookwood said.

In addition to its announcements about its 1.3 and 1.33GHz Athlon chips, AMD also outlined its road map for its newest Athlon and Duron cores, codenamed Palomino and Morgan, respectively. Palomino and Morgan mobile cores are on schedule, AMD said.

Palomino chips, which are expected to hit the street for the mobile market up to and including 1GHz, will be ready during the second quarter of the year. Morgan for the mobile market has been delivered to PC makers and is expected to be available in production volumes by the second quarter. the company said.

Palomino and Morgan desktop cores, meanwhile, are slated to ship in the third quarter of 2001. AMD's road map indicates that Palomino's speed will be at least 1.5GHz for the desktop, while Morgan desktop chips will run at speeds greater than 900Mhz. AMD also plans to use the Palomino processor for 1- and 2-way servers and workstations.

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James Evans

PC World
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