A New Battle Front: Athlon XP 1900+
AMD has opened up a new front in its war with Intel by introducing the Athlon XP 1900+. This time, AMD attempts to entrench its position in the performance-oriented high-end segment. For a while there last week, the Athlon XP 1800+ with a Palomino core was the crème de la crème. But what your average user won't know is that, as is the case with the other XP models, "1900+" doesn't indicate the processor's clock speed, but rather its AMD performance class. In fact, the new Athlon XP 1900+ is clocked at 1600 MHz - that's exactly 66 MHz more than the 1533 MHz the Athlon XP 1800+ offers. The next performance class is called, logically enough, "2000+", and is almost certain to remain under wraps until the beginning of 2002. AMD's arch-rival is thinking along similar lines - Intel is intending to wait until January of next year, if not longer, to present its first Pentium 4 clocked at 2200 MHz and based on the Northwood core. Until then, there are enough processors of all different performance classes out there on the market to secure a good starting position for the Christmas season.
After all, PC manufacturers have already had their systems configured for quite a while so that potential customers can get them from retailers in time for Christmas. AMD will be represented with its "mid-range" Athlon XP models "1700+" and "1800+", while Intel will be hawking the Pentium 4/1700 and Pentium 4/1800 in complete systems. In terms of price, customers will hardly notice any difference between the AMD and the Intel systems. While PCs based on AMD processors often use slow DDR-SDRAM with CL2.5 (CAS Latency time 2.5 ns), PC assemblers scrimp on Intel computers by installing slow SDRAM on an 845 motherboard. By and large, however, PC systems with AMD processors generally perform better than comparable Intel systems.