Intel's New Weapon: The Coppermine


I have to congratulate Intel for finally getting the best out of the good old P6-design. Coppermine has got very close to Athlon, it even surpasses it due to SSE and other enhancements in several 3D-games, particularly in Quake3. Coppermine suffers a bit from the delay of i820, but it is still able to show its teeth already. What we shouldn't forget however is that there's a new platform for Athlon due soon as well, which should give this AMD CPU some speed boost too. For workstation users the answer should still be clear, Athlon is the way better choice due to its far superior floating point performance and it will get even more obvious once there are SMP-platforms available for Athlon. Office application users shouldn't look at those CPUs in the first place really, since every office application runs just fine on K6-2, K6-3 or Celeron platforms. The story has changed a bit for gamers. Coppermine is at least as fast as Athlon in games and until the world changes significantly, game developers will help out Intel by optimizing their games for SSE rather than putting any major effort into 3DNow!-enhancements. This is partly AMD's fault, since it would be their job to supply developers with a compiler that optimizes for Athlon. The final decision will be made when you look at the pricing though.

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DesktopBus Speed1000 unit volumepricing per chip
Pentium III-733133 MHz$776
Pentium III-700100 MHz$754
Pentium III-667133 MHz$605
Pentium III-650100 MHz$583
Pentium III-600EB133 MHz$455 *
Pentium III-600E100 MHz$455
Pentium III-550E100 MHz$368 (FCPGA package)
Pentium III-533EB133 MHz$305
Pentium III-500E100 MHz$239 (FCPGA package)
Workstation/ServerBus Speed1000 unit volumepricing per chip
Pentium III Xeon-733 w/256 kB L2-cache133 MHz$826
Pentium III Xeon-667 w/256 kB L2-cache133 MHz$655
Pentium III Xeon-600 w/256 kB L2-cache133 MHz$505
MobileBus Speed1000 unit volumepricing per chip
Mobile Pentium III-500100 MHz$530
Mobile Pentium III-450100 MHz$348
Mobile Pentium III-400100 MHz$348 (low voltage)

*E = to differentiate 0.18 micron from 0.25 micron processors at the same frequency
*B = to differentiate 133 MHz front side bus processors from 100 MHz front side bus processors at the same speed

This is the latest pricing of AMD's Athlon for comparison.

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DesktopBus Speed1000 unit volumepricing per chip
Athlon 700100 MHz x 2$699
Athlon 650100 MHz x 2$519
Athlon 600100 MHz x 2$419
Athlon 550100 MHz x 2$279
Athlon 500100 MHz x 2$209

Intel hasn't changed much and takes a lot more money for Coppermine than AMD takes for Athlon. AMD will have to get their .18 micron-process going and integrate their L2-cache on-die as well. Then we'll see if Intel has only caught up or if it will overtake AMD again.