Hot Microprocessor News

Hi, I'm Tualatin. Please Call Me Celeron

New Celeron samples with 'Tualatin ' core have found their way to the top tier OEMs already quite a while ago. Intel has chosen a funky way to abuse its 'Tualatin' core. The Tualatin-Celeron samples are equipped with 256 kB of second level cache and are running at 1.2 GHz, using the good old pathetic 100 MHz front side bus to ensure mediocre performance of this lovely little processor core. The release of those new Celeron processors is expected close to Microsoft's WinXP launch, which won't be long anymore, as WinXP just got Gold.

I guess that the 100 MHz FSB information is bad news for the ones of you that had hoped the new Celeron would be a full-blown Pentium III processor. However, our experiences with the Tualatin-256 at 1.13 GHz showed that overclocking from 100 MHz to 133 MHz FSB should not be too difficult. In this case the new Celeron would be a very attractive product.

AMD Reinvents The PR-Rating

Now we have finally reached the funkiest news in this article. I already spoke about it before, AMD needs to do something about the huge clock frequency gap between its Athlon processors and Pentium 4. Shortly before the news arrived at my desk I was discussing this very issue with my editor Frank Voelkel, who is still obsessed by the mission to teach the masses that clock speed ain't saying nothing about performance. I told him that I gave up on it. Endless regurgitations of "don't just buy clock speed! AMD's Athlon is often faster than Pentium 4 even though it runs at a lower clock!" makes a man tired, especially someone who is struggling to get the word out for more than 5 years (with very few brakes). So I said "Frankly, the best thing AMD could do is bring back the good old PR-rating." Frank didn't like it. We all hated those PR-numbers used by AMD, Cyrix, IBM and Centaur a few years ago, because they were terribly misleading.

Still, what choice has AMD got? How much do you think a marketing campaign would cost that would make all those potential customers understand that Athlon at 1.5 GHz is faster than Pentium 4 at 2 GHz? I don't even think it would be possible. When Intel's engineers designed Pentium 4 for high clock frequencies they knew they had AMD by the balls. So AMD HAS TO fall back onto the good old PR-rating idea unless it wants to lose its balls.