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It is pretty certain that hardly any x86 architecture processor has a longer history. The idea for the first Athlon core goes back to 1998, when Dirk Meyer of AMD impressed us all and, most importantly, gave a jaded Intel competition jitters.
It was a market revolution, and not long before the Athlon started its victory march, winning everyone's heart along the way. The essential ingredient was its very good price/ performance ratio.
From the very beginning, the focus was on the thrifty end user. Moreover, there was the option of overclocking, which helped countless freaks squeeze the same power as they could with much more expensive CPUs. In short: Athlon became a philosophy, a staple of conversation among sophisticated users, and, in part, the subject of heated debate, the likes of which sometimes degenerates into fanatacism.