Our entry into the year 2000 has meant different things to different folks. For singer Britney Spears it has meant cheesy songs topping the pop charts. For the Los Angeles Lakers, it has meant an NBA Championship title. For chip manufacturer AMD, is has meant a surge in sales due to an immensely popular processor, the Athlon. Between the processors sold early in 2000 based on the K75 core, and those sold in the second half of 2000 based on the Thunderbird core, the Athlon has achieved a 24% unit share, bringing AMD's total desktop share to 38%. Not bad for a company that previously struggled for a waning position on the value market - not bad at all.
So how has AMD emerged from 2000 in such a successful position? Not only have they matched and surpassed the performance of Intel's Pentium III platform on a clock for clock basis, but, well, look at our Weekly CPU prices. That's right, you can pick up an Athlon at 1.2GHz for $200 les than Intel's Pentium III 1GHz. Value and performance have made AMD the fastest growing CPU manufacturer this year.
Additionally, AMD started production from a new manufacturing facility last June. Named Fab 30, this new plant in Dresden, Germany has allowed AMD to produce processors with copper interconnects on a .18-micron process. 80% of the processors coming from F30 are clocked at 1GHz or higher and the fab has only reached 50% capacity!
We know that in March of 2000, AMD hit the 1GHz landmark. We also know that two months later, the full-speed cache "Thunderbird" core was ready for prime time, and currently ships at 1.2GHz. Then, at the end of October, AMD unveiled their DDR-capable chipset, the 760. While the past is great for history books, the future is what really matters. Now that AMD has taken the offensive position on the CPU market, where will they go in 2001 and beyond?