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AMD Travels Through Time: Athlon XP 2800+ with Dual-DDR

Conclusion: Athlon XP 2800+ Is The Performance Winner, But Not Available Until 2003

The benchmark results prove that, with its Athon XP 2800+ plus the nForce2 chipset, AMD can take back the performance crown. Above all, because the Front Side Bus clock has been increased from 133 MHz to 166 MHz, the CPU can take full advantage of the higher bandwidth of the nForce2 chipset with Dual DDR333. This offers a theoretical bandwidth of 6.4 GB/s (PC3200 x 2) .

Furthermore, note that the Front Side Bus clock and memory clock now communicate synchronously. Here, we refer to our lab findings regarding the new 166 MHz FSB clock: when the currently fastest VIA KT333 chipset is used (KT400 is much slower than KT333!), the higher FSB clock results in an increase of just around 5% in the total performance. And, this is only valid for the top of the motherboards and special memory modules, none of which can be found in PCs of the discount class. But it's a different story when Nvidia's nForce 2 enters the scene: here, the performance increases by 20% to 25%, depending on the application used. There's only limited backwards compatibility with the Athlon XP 2800+, however: at least a VIA KT333 motherboard with 166 MHz FSB is required.

The test results of the two new Athlon XP processors are quite convincing, but there's still a bit of a damper on the party: AMD won't be able to deliver these fast CPUs until the beginning of next year. The nForce 2 chipset is also still in a late beta phase, so currently, motherboard manufacturers aren't able to offer any final version boards. Observing the market situation from a political point of view, it's easily concluded that the Athlon XP 2800+ has only been launched for prestige. AMD clearly has the Intel Pentium 4/2800 in view, but Intel's CPU is already available. Thus, the Athlon XP 2800+ remains only a virtual market competitor for the top P4 model. Hopefully, this won't lead ambitious AMD fans to despair, because the Athlon XP 2200+ with the Thoroughbred A core has already been available for three months now . And, we've checked out the availability at various computer specialty stores: they're currently taking waiting lists for the Athlon XP 2400+ and 2600+.

Here, we'd like to repeat our wish once more: Intel needs more competitive pressure from AMD, and that probably won't happen until the Claw Hammer is launched. In the short term, the modified Athlon XP with the Barton core (512 kB L2 Cache) will ensure a further performance boost for the gradually aging Socket A platform. Nevertheless, the performance of Dual-Channel DDR333 is convincing because it brings system performance up to the level of a top P4 model with Dual RDRAM (PC1066).