Price: $350 in volumes of 1,000
The megahertz battle is over, but the performance war is as fervent as ever. Intel's Pentium 4, with its deep 20-stage pipeline and impending move to a 130nm manufacturing process, has clenched the ability to beat AMD's Athlon to every speed grade in the foreseeable future. That's right, the ferocious race between Intel and AMD to the gigahertz mark will not manifest itself again any time soon. However, the ability to scale the Pentium 4 to before-unseen clock speeds carries with it an inherent disadvantage. Mainly, the average number of instructions successfully executed per clock cycle (referred to as IPC) has decreased. Therein lies AMD's window of opportunity. While their Athlon is not as scalable in terms of frequency, its IPC is greater.
So, even though Intel has sat merrily at 1.5GHz for the past four months and AMD has taken a breather at 1.2GHz for the past five, the performance delta between the competing processor lines has been very small. Generally, Intel has been dominating floating-point intensive applications, while AMD has taken most of the victories in integer-based programs.
AMD is again upping the ante in this vicious processor war with two new high-performance products: the Athlon 1.33GHz, designed to operate on the 133MHz DDR EV6 bus, and the Athlon 1.3GHz, which runs on the 100MHz DDR bus.