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Hot off the Press - NEWS
by Keith Benicek, Managing Editor

AMD about to ship Hot Athlon XP 3200+
May 8th, 2003

You can generally see the clues that either one of the big two processor manufacturers is about to release something new. AMD recently cut the price of its current hot performer, the Athlon “Barton Core” XP3000+, from US$588 to US$325 on April 22nd, 2003.

The third new Barton Core based Athlon XP3200+, with an increased 400 MHz Frontside Bus, may be available as soon as this Friday or early next week. This is another step in this family series before AMD releases the brand-new 64-bit processor sometime later this year, which is an answer to Intel’s 64 bit Opteron series of processors.
       
The new Barton Core, which is a strong challenge to the Intel’s “hyper-threading” Pentium 4 Xeon, is the successor to AMD’s Thoroughbred series, and it offered a pretty huge 512MB jump in cache to a 640MB. AMD has with this series, won the cache race with Intel

A number of distributors we called yesterday indicated that preorders were being taken and that they may receive them as soon as this Friday (5-9-03).

Intel may respond soon too.
Rumors have it that Intel may be releasing a 3.2GHz P-4 soon which will also support their “hyper-threading” technology, which can with only specifically designed and optimized applications see the single processor as dual processors. Windows XP will also recognize the hyper-threading instruction set.

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We’ve been told that Intel also plans to implement the hyper-threading technology into some of their slower P-4 processors as well, but not the Celeron series.

New motherboards needed
In both AMD and Intel’s case, new chip sets and motherboards will be required to take advantage of the 400MHz and 800MHz Frontside Bus hardware and speeds.

Micro-Star International, ASUS, Gigabyte Technology, Abit Computer, Epox Computer have already announced new motherboards and Intel has already release the new Canterwood chip set this last April.

Who’s faster right now?
Well, with AMD’s larger cache and more efficient architecture, our preliminary tests of an Athlon XP3000+ against an Intel 3.06GHz P-4 with equivalent DDR CL2 RAM and ATA133 7200 RPM drives, the Athlon XP3000+ was nearly 12 percent faster in “productivity applications” like crunching equivalent sized Excel spreadsheets, Photoshop selected filters and Adobe Premier video assembly functions. While we aren’t a gaming publication, we did use a few well know Unreal Tournament test that are a great way to evaluate fast video pipeline capabilities of a processor (remember that Unreal Tournament is not optimized for hyper-threading, as most apps are not) and the Athlon XP3000+ was still 9 percent faster than the Intel 3.06GHz P-4.

It should be noted that other prominent publications has also reported very similar results.

We also noted that Windows XP Professional itself, runs about 2 percent faster on the Intel 3.06GHz P-4, because it does recognize and makes use of hyper-threading technology.

Be sure to check-in on our upcoming multi-segment Review and How-to article that compares video and multimedia workstations from Apple, Gateway and our three home-brewed AMD Athlon based professional workstations in
Buy or Build a Video/Multimedia Workstation .



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