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Sharky Extreme : October 9, 2011

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Price: $850 - $900 esp

Ship Date: September

Well here we are folks. After two long years of development, endless industry rumors, several product delays, multiple poor financial quarters, and a new $2 billion fabrication plant, the infamous AMD K7 CPU is now a reality.

Launching in PCs from various OEM manufacturers on August 16th, the AMD "Athlon" will arrive in four different speed flavors with wildly differing cost points.

Beginning with a 500MHz, 550MHz, 600MHz, and a slightly delayed 650MHz part, the Athlon line either signals the beginning of a renaissance time period over at AMD, or the beginning of the end for the much-historied company, depending on which industry followers you are reading.

If you're a fan of the beleaguered semiconductor manufacturer, the arrival of the Athlon line comes not a moment too soon, as most of 1999 has been spent on the defensive by AMD due to an aggressive price war the past seven months fought with rival chip-maker Intel.

Is the Athlon fast enough to put AMD's financials back into the positive range?

We'll answer this question and others as we probe and explore the fastest microprocessor AMD has ever produced in the following pages.

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