AMD's Thoroughbred leaves the starting gate

AMD's latest Athlon XP processor uses a smaller fabrication process and runs at a higher clock speed than its 'Palomino' predecessors. ZDNet puts it through its benchmark paces.

The Athlon XP/2200+ is AMD’s first desktop processor built using a 0.13-micron fabrication process. As a result of this move, the chip’s die shrinks from 128mm2 to 80mm2 and the processor consumes less power. AMD has made no new architectural changes for the Athlon XP/2200+ (1800MHz), so the new processor -- known by the codename ‘Thoroughbred’ -- is no faster than the previous ‘Palomino’ model at the same clock speed. The smaller die size of the Thoroughbred means that AMD can manufacture the chip more easily. The company now has a clear advantage over Intel in this respect: the Pentium 4 has a much larger die size (146mm2), and is therefore more expensive to make. The other Athlon XP versions (1700+, 1800+, 1900+, 2000+, and 2100+) will soon be available only as 0.13-micron chips.

Moving the Athlon XP/2200+’s fabrication process to 0.13 microns allows AMD to shrink the die size to just 80mm2, resulting in reduced production costs and lower power consumption.
Thanks to its 0.13-micron internal structures, the Thoroughbred Athlon XP requires less voltage and therefore uses less power than its predecessors. The Athlon XP/2200+, whose actual clock speed is 1,800MHz, needs only 1.65 volts compared to 1.75 volts for the 0.18-micron Palomino versions. Power consumption also drops: the forthcoming 0.13-micron version of the Athlon XP/2100+ uses only 62.1 Watts -- slightly less than the 0.18-micron version of the Athlon XP/1700+ (64 Watts). The specification of the cooling fans are not smaller, however, due to the fact that shrinking the chip area from 128mm2 to 80mm2 makes heat dissipation more difficult.

AMD’s new 0.13-micron Thoroughbred processors use considerably less power than their 0.18-micron Palomino predecessors.
Integrating AMD’s new processors into PCs will require new voltages to be available on motherboards. In most cases, this will be accomplished by a simple BIOS update. Information about motherboards that support AMD’s new processors are available on the support sites of the board manufacturers or on AMD’s Web site.
Intel v AMD
Pentium 4/2533
Athlon XP/2100+
Athlon XP/2200+

Clock speed (GHz) 2.53 1.73 1.8
Codename Northwood Palomino Thoroughbred
Level 1 cache (KB) 8 (+12KB Trace Cache) 128 128
Level 2 cache (KB) 512 256 256
Fabrication process (microns) 0.13 0.18 0.13
Die size (mm2) 146 128 80
Voltage 1.5 1.75 1.65
Power consumption (Watts) 59.3 72 67.9
Price ($ per chip, in 1,000-chip units) 637 229 241


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