In the Forums...
Posted: December 4, 2000
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen
This year has been a fabulous year for AMD. Not only has it captured an increasingly large audience, but it is also producing processors that are faster than Intel’s own. The Athlon couldn’t have come at a better time for AMD. It wouldn’t have been in the same position they are now if the Athlon wasn’t so successful. Even to this day, Intel has not been able to successfully compete with AMD in regards to volume processor releases. As you may or may not know, the Athlon is the first 7th generation x86 processor. Just recently, Intel released its 7th generation processor -- the Pentium 4. This is the first time that Intel has been playing catch-up in all of its history.
950MHz of Raw Power
Today we’re taking a look at one of AMD’s high end CPUs, the 950MHz Thunderbird Athlon. AMD is soon to release DDR compliant Socket A Athlon processors but not everyone is going to go straight for the summit. This processor is only 50MHz slower than the 1GHz version and costs significantly less -- so it’ll appeal to people who don’t quite need bleeding edge technology but still want to stay high end.
Those of you who already have the “classic” Athlon processors should already know that the major difference between the Thunderbird Athlon and the classic Athlon is cache size and location. Level2 cache on the newer Socket A Athlon processors have been reduced from 512KB to 256KB and has been moved onto the processor die itself. Having on-die cache enables the cache to run at full core speed. So our 950MHz Thunderbird here would have a cache speed of 950MHz. Previously, Slot processors had cache modules located externally of the core. As you can imagine, this won’t be as efficient and speedy.
Cache is a type of high-speed memory used to store frequently used data. Without it, a processor’s performance is greatly reduced to the point that a cacheless 700MHz processor would run only as well as a 550MHz processor with cache -- at some applications. Okay, enough cache-talk, let’s get onto some of the important specs of this processor.