Price: Unreleased, estimated to be $770 - $825
Ship Date: January 2000
With Intel and AMD currently battling it out in the 700MHz+ arena of CPU performance, many Sharky Extreme readers are wondering where the next round of speedier CPUs will perform in relation to today's titans.
As we mentioned in last week's CPU Price Guide, the latest information obtained directly from AMD indicates that the Athlon 700 CPU will likely be the last Athlon CPU introduced in 1999.
Instead of continuing to push their older .25um process up to 750MHz, which produces poorer (and less profitable) yields, all efforts are being made to ramp up AMD's new .18um manufacturing technique as quickly as possible.
New 800MHz+ .18um Athlon CPUs are scheduled to arrive in late January of 2000, with gradual increases scheduled throughout the rest of the year thanks to the gradual adoption of copper-based interconnects being introduced to today's aluminum-based Athlon core.
Copper interconnects, with their better conductivity, allow a higher MHz level to be attained as compared to aluminium-based ones. Most semiconductor engineers expect a 10 - 15% gain in throughput.
Likewise, Intel has firmly denied the existence of a faster than 733MHz Coppermine Pentium III debuting in 1999, instead choosing to reiterate to us that they feel the newly launched P3-733 Coppermine CPU is the fastest desktop processor money can buy.
While both Intel and AMD are willing to commit only to January, and the rest of Q1/2000 as the 'expected' timeframe in which they'll again boost their flagship line's MHz speed levels, Sharky Extreme is willing to gamble that Intel will indeed launch an 800MHz Pentium III CPU in December of this year, making them the first semiconductor manufacturer to do so with an X86 compatible product.
Let's take a look now at this upcoming P3-800 CPU to measure its performance level against the existing P3-733 and the Athlon 700 CPUs.