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A New Kind Of Fast: AMD Athlon XP 2200+

Chasing The P4: Athlon Core With A New Design, Continued

The test standards for this latest comparison are therefore at least as high as the expectations that many users have set for the new AMD Athlon XP - lately, many rumors have been going around about the Thoroughbred, which is the successor to the Palomino core. Some said that the Front Side Bus clock would be increased to 166 MHz, while others even toyed with the idea that AMD would increase the L2 cache to 512 kB.

The various Athlon CPUs compared, from left to right: Thoroughbred (2002), Palomino (2001) and Thunderbird (2000).

A view of the back side of the three generations of Athlons.

And now it has finally arrived, after a few delays - the long-awaited Athlon XP 2200+ with the T-bred core. This model is called "Athlon XP 2200+", but the actual processor clock has been increased by 66 MHz to 1800 MHz, compared to the Athlon XP 2100+ (1733 MHz) with the Palomino core. Although officially AMD mostly talks of a decrease in the size of the processor core, there are a lot more modifications behind the design. For one thing, the manufacturer has reduced the structure from 0.18 µm to 0.13 µm, so that the core requires less surface area, because the number of transistors (37.5 million) is identical to that of the previous core. Looking more closely at the Palomino and Thoroughbred cores shows you that while the older core was almost square, the new core takes on more of a rectangular design.

Therefore, the main question in this test is: with the smaller CPU core in the Athlon XP 2200+ (1800 MHz), can AMD overcome Intel's 733 MHz lead with its P4 (2533 MHz) and offer it some stiff competition?

The boot process of the AMD Athlon XP 2200+.

The Gigabyte board equipped with AMI BIOS, the AMD 2200+ during system startup.