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The First Palomino: AMD Releases Mobile Athlon 4

Performance

AMD has not yet supplied any tester with Mobile Athlon 4 samples and according notebook test beds. This leaves us unable to provide you with any in-house benchmark results. However, AMD has run a significant amount of benchmarks, which I would like to mention quickly. Basically, Athlon 4 is about 3-16% faster than 'Thunderbird', depending on the application. This performance advantage is mainly due to the new pre-fetching feature. Quake 3 Arena runs e.g. 6 % faster on Athlon 4 than on Athlon at the same core clock. Mobile Athlon 4 is outperforming Mobile Pentium III at the same clock speed. Mobile Duron is easily beating Mobile Celeron and even reaching Pentium III scores. The power saving benchmarks show that PowerNow! allows a battery life prolongation of 30%. I repeat that those results were provided by AMD and were not generated by us. However, we will post Athlon 4 benchmarks as soon as possible.

Conclusion

Today we have seen the launch of the first version of AMD's highly anticipated and highly discussed 'Palomino' core. Maybe some of you are not too impressed by a performance increase of 3-16%, but I suggest to wait until the actual Desktop Athlon 4 will be launched. We are expecting clock speeds around 1.6 GHz and at that speed Palomino should well be able to compete against Pentium 4 at 2 GHz. Wait and see.

Let's now remember that AMD released new processors for notebooks. When you look at the specs and realize the possible performance you will see that AMD's Mobile Athlon 4 launch can be seen as a very significant event. I would say that the ingredients are almost perfect for AMD to quickly gain a respectable share in the mobile market. The processor comes in two form factors, it provides good performance, it is not a power consumption hazard, it doesn't get too hot and the pricing is well chosen too. While Mobile Athlon 4 will attack Intel's Mobile Pentium III from above, Mobile Duron will make its life harder from below. We can certainly kiss Mobile Celeron goodbye very soon. Intel has already brought up the mobile Tualatin processor in its roadmap. It shows that Intel is well aware of the threat.

If there's one problem that AMD could encounter then it is the chipset issue. Neither ALi, nor VIA have a particularly clean record when it comes to reliability and stability. OEMs don't accept any twitches in their notebooks. Let's hope that the Taiwanese chipset makers won't be a stumbling stone for AMD's success in the mobile market.