Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is to make two technical advancements in its Athlon microprocessor family in the second half of the year.
A new technology code-named Thunderbird will see level 2 (L2) cache integrated on-chip with the Athlon CPU. Another technology, dubbed Spitfire, will be a socket-based Athlon design for lower-cost personal computers.
According to AMD's product marketing manager for Northern Europe, Richard Baker both technologies will reach the European PC market in the second half of this year.
Baker was not, however, able to confirm whether the technologies would lead to two new brands. He was also unable to say by how much performance is likely to be improved using Thunderbird.
Joe D'elia senior research analyst with GartnerGroup, however, expects Thunderbird to lead to an significant increase in performance. "I think its going to be in the same order as the performance increase seen with the Coppermine. In essence you can work out performance increase by multiplying it relative to the cache size," he says
In late 2000 or early 2001, AMD will also release a chip technology called Mustang that uses a very large on-chip L2 cache. According to reports, the cache on this device could be as large as a megabyte. It is expected to directly compete with Intel's forthcoming Cascade processor, which may have as much as two megabytes of L2 cache.
AMD has had made up much ground on Intel since introducing its Athlon range of microprocessors. It estimates that sales have increased by 12 percent from 1998 and that it sold some 800,000 Athlons in the last quarter of 1999.
Intel is suffering from what we might call Microsoft Syndrome, the symptoms are rampant and unnecessary paranoia, read the news comment at AnchorDesk UK with Peter Jackson.