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Review: AMD Thunderbird 1.33GHz (133MHz FSB) (Page 1/9)

Posted: February 22, 2001
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen


Who said the graphics industry is speeding ahead of the processor industry? Sure, the graphics industry is moving fast, but the processor industry is keeping its pace as well. Today marks the release of AMDís fastest processor to date, the 1.33GHz Thunderbird Athlon. What things does this processor bring to the table and how fast does it bring them? Weíll reveal all in the next few pages.

Whatís new?

If we compare the new 1.33GHz Thunderbird to ones that are already available, the only thing new is speed. The previous processor debuted at 1.2GHz utilizing a 133MHz DDR FSB. The new 1.33GHz also utilizes a 133MHz DDR FSB. With this in mind, not much has improved. Architecturally, we have the same Thunderbird core that existed before. This one is just 133MHz faster.

Target Audience

When people ask if they should get the fastest of whatever they want to purchase, be it a video card or a CPU, I usually give a short and blunt reply -- stay one step behind cutting-edge. Why stay behind cutting edge? Staying one step behind usually gives you more value for your dollars.

If we take a look at CPUs, the fastest one is always significantly more expensive than the processor behind it while that one is closely priced to the next level down. For example, the 1.33GHz would cost a lot more than the 1.2GHz while the 1.2GHz doesnít cost much more than a 1.1GHz. This case applies to everything, not just CPUís. Thereís always a high premium to pay if you want to obtain the fastest.

Letís say you have spare change and you want to aim for the fastest CPU possible. While it may be the fastest on the market, it isnít necessarily the best for you. Youíll definitely have bragging rights, but would have spent your money effectively? Thatís the question that needs to be asked.

Architecture Longevity

The future is coming, and itís coming fast. And with the future soon becoming the present, weíll see new things happen and witness changes. Of course, Iím hinting at AMDís next core, Palomino. Palomino is slated to be released sometime in the last half of this year and bring along significant power and heat reduction. According to AMD representatives, the Palomino core will reduce power consumption by roughly 20% and higher. This is definitely a needed improvement since current Athlon processors already give off scorching temperature readings.

Along with power reduction, Palomino will be aimed at multiple processor systems too. AMD is really pushing towards major adoption in the server and workstation market. This is a step in the right direction for AMD as those two markets are incredibly lucrative and if AMD is successful, it will gain more and more ground to compete against Intel in a big way.

So should you rush out to by a processor now when the next best thing is around the corner? Final judgment is up to you but also keep in mind what I mentioned above.

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