'Performance Matters More Than MHz'
This heading is directly taken from the front page of an AMD presentation that I received right after I had been the first to report about AMD's plans to use the launch of the 'Desktop Palomino' for the introduction of a new performance rating system in late August 2001.
In times as hard as this, after experiencing a constant business downturn all year and then a terrible terrorist attack that killed thousands of innocent people and that made the economy even weaker, AMD's future revolves around "Performance Matters More Than MHz " and the question if customers are going to understand and accept it.
This article will be a bit different than the usual stuff you know about processor releases. The real beef of AMD's AthlonXP-launch lies not in processor architecture, benchmark numbers and overclocking climaxes. It's all about AMD trying, or rather struggling, to change people's perception of computer performance, which - rightly or not - has been based on the good old 'megahertz ' for decades. Trying to change old habits is a very difficult task and AMD is fully aware of that. That's why AMD is starting with a somewhat halfhearted attempt of replacing 'megahertz' with, well, something that looks like 'megahertz' as well. We'll get to that a bit later.