After for the monumental brawl between the Athlon XP 2000+ and Pentium 4-2.2 GHz processors, which incidentally were released the same day, we have been waiting to see which company would flinch first. Many expected Intel and their high-scaling Pentium 4 to make the first move, potentially tilting the performance results in their favor by jacking the clock speed or FSB quite significantly. The other potential move would have AMD introducing their new 0.13-micron Thoroughbred core at a high clock speed, and basically taking the Pentium 4 to town.
Neither of these events has come to pass, and instead AMD has released the Athlon XP 2100+. This model is a faster Athlon XP processor, using the same Palomino core as its predecessors, and does not include the much-anticipated Thoroughbred core. This is by no means bad news, as the existing Athlon XP is a very fast processor core and increasing its speed to 1.73 GHz for the 2100+ means higher performance for the AMD crowd, along with the promise of lower prices for the rest of the line.
In many ways, this seems like a bridge processor, designed to span the gap between the Palomino and Thoroughbred cores, while still giving Intel fits in terms of competitive performance. AMD understands that Intel can rapidly scale the Pentium 4 architecture; but until the newer AMD core is available, this is a great interim move. The interesting part comes when we see exactly how fast the Athlon XP 2100+ is, and whether AMD can perform a clean sweep of the benchmark testing.