Price: $490+ street
What do you do when you have record volume sales, your best chip is clocked faster than Intel's greatest, and your stock price isn't going up? If you're AMD, you take the gloves off, drop your price even more, and come out swinging. With the release of AMD's new 1.2GHz Athlon, which surprisingly costs less than $500, AMD is making a major power play for the x86 processor market. We have ringside seats and in this review, we are going to bring you a blow-by-blow report.
With the Athlon 1.2GHz, AMD has a 200MHz lead over Intel's last successful release, the Pentium III 1GHz (their 1.13GHz has been recalled after flaws were discovered). Intel's Pentium 4 is about a month and a half away, so AMD will have a clock speed lead for quite a while, but will they have a performance lead as well? In order to find out, we ran a full suite of benchmarks and used the processor to see how well it works. Read on too see what we found out.
The Athlon Thunderbird 1.2GHz uses the same core design as all previous Athlon Thunderbird processors. There are no new bells and whistles, add-ons, or accessories. It is simply the Athlon Thunderbird core running at a stratospheric 1.2GHz. The Athlon Thunderbird core comes with 256k of full-speed on-die level 2 cache and 128k of level 1 cache. The processor runs on a 100MHz double-pumped (200MHz equivalent) front side bus (FSB), which provides about 1.6GBps of bandwidth.