AMD and Intel seem to be playing a game of tag the past few months. First AMD releases a new model of their Athlon, and then Intel follows this up with a faster revision of their Pentium 4. Soon after the introduction of the Athlon 1.2 GHz, Intel challenged it with the Pentium 4-1.5 GHz, which AMD followed with their 1.33 GHz Athlon. Intel's latest offering, the Pentium 4-1.7 GHz, came right on the heels of the Athlon 1.33 GHz, so now it's AMD's turn to make their move.
The new Athlon 1.4 GHz is the latest entry in the processor wars. And like the Athlon 1.3/1.33 GHz before it, it will ship in both 100 (200 DDR) and 133 (266 DDR) MHz versions. This strategy of releasing both 200 and 266 DDR versions of the Athlon is a sound one, considering that AMD has been making inroads by promoting a very stable Socket A platform. Although few general users will upgrade, it is nice knowing that owning a KT133 motherboard (limited to 200 MHz DDR processors) might not be the dead end that many predicted. For many, the prospect of an upgrade path is far more important than the reality. And in this respect, AMD seems to be playing their Athlon cards perfectly.
By continuing to transition the Athlon line to the 266 DDR EV6 bus, AMD has been able to increase overall system performance and make full use of either PC133 SDRAM or PC2100 DDR technology. This helps them in comparative benchmarks and reviews and proves that the Athlon can match and even exceed the powerful Pentium 4/RDRAM combination.
One important factor in this Athlon 1.4 GHz release is that the new processor is really only a nominal increase from the current 1.33 GHz speed demon. The 1.33 GHz introduction was a bit more momentous due to a relatively large 133 MHz jump in core speed. The 1.4 GHz is only 66 MHz faster than the 1.33 GHz and so pales in comparison to Intel's 200 MHz leap from the Pentium 4-1.5 to 1.7 GHz.