Athlon On The Fast Lane: Three Motherboards with nForce2-Chipset and Dual-Channel DDR

Power To The Athlon! nForce2 Chipset Motherboards

It has been a difficult time for AMD. While the Athlon XP enjoys a good reputation, the strategy of being attractive because of an excellent price/ performance ratio forced prices to drop. That's exactly the very problem, as Intel has been raising clock speeds aggressively, which lead to multiple price drops on either side. Today, most AMD processors are available at exciting prices - leaving only little income to AMD.

As long as Intel is in a position to dominate the processor market, AMD won't be able to act, only to react. What Athlon needs is, simply spoken, more performance. Even more? Yes! It's not about reason or demand, it's all about producing the fastest microprocessor available. It's as simple as that.

There are two ways to achieve this: first, you can of course try to build a faster processor model, by clock speed or by architectural improvements; second, you can try to accelerate the platform. Unfortunately, AMD has neither the ressources nor the incentive to become a chipset manufacturer - that's why AMD 750 and 760 have only been precursors, rather than fully qualified products.

ALi, SiS and VIA have been supplying all kinds of chipsets for the Athlon family. So far, only VIA has been able to strengthen its position, thanks to several chipset series that today run almost as reliably as the beloved Intel chipsets. And here's another problem: business customers do not want chipsets that run "almost as good as Intel" - they want the best for the least money. That is a demand that is satisfied by long-term business relationships, making it even more difficult for Athlon to gain ground.

nVIDIA is a phenomenon in the hardware business. Founded as a company that would conquer the 3D market, nVIDIA today wants to take possession of the chipset business as well. "Thank god" should be the words added by AMD, as nForce2 finally could be a chipset that dramatically improves the attractiveness of the brave Athlon.