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AMD Athlon XP vs Pentium 4 Take 2

Posted: April 3rd, 2002
Written by: Tuan Huynh


Last October we saw AMD and Intel go at it in round one when AMD finally launched their Athlon XP processors based on the Palomino core running at 1.53 GHz. Back then, the fastest Pentium 4 was the Willamette 2.0 GHz, which was outperformed by the Athlon XP1800+ which ran at 1.53 GHz. In January, we saw both AMD and Intel go at it once again when Intel launched their Northwood core based Pentium 4ís running at 2.2 GHz. Back then it was a tossup and resulted in a draw.

A few weeks ago AMD launched their XP2100+ processor which finally broke the 1.7 GHz barrier for AMD that ran at 1.73 GHz. A few days ago, we saw Intel launch their 2.4 GHz processor, which was a 200 MHz speed improvement over its predecessor, further increasing the speed margin between AMD and Intel processors.

This time around the battle is between the Athlon XP2100+ and Pentium 4 2.4 GHz. The Athlon XP2100+ is the last of the Palomino based Athlonís, newer Athlonís will be based on the new .13u Thoroughbred Core which runs cooler and has a smaller die. The Pentium 2.4 GHz though it will not be seeing any new core enhancements is the last of the Pentium 4ís running at a 400 MHz Quad Pumped front side bus, newer Pentium 4ís will be utilizing a faster 533 MHz FSB.

Physically Different

At first site, it is very easy to distinguish the difference between the Pentium 4 and the Athlon XP. The Athlon XP, available with either a Green or Brown color, exposes the core of the processor completely, leaving it damageable for incorrect heat sink installation. The size of the Athlon XP remains no different then previous Athlon and still uses the same 462 Pin configuration introduced with the Thunderbird.

The Pentium 4 on the other hand, has a metal heat spreader plate installed to improve cooling and protecting the core of the processor from being physically damaged. The physical size of the processor is smaller compared to the Athlon XP because the Pentium 4 is packaged using a mPGA packaging which makes the processor extremely small even though it has a 478 pin count.

If you look closely, youíll notice that the Athlon XP has been locked by AMD by laser cutting the L1 bridges, leaving a trench making it harder to unlock the processor. The Pentium 4ís come factory locked and is nearly impossible to unlock.

On the bottom side, the processors are somewhat similar. Both processors contain resistors on the bottom side rather then on the top side like we saw on the Thunderbirds.

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