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AMD AthlonXP Thoroughbred Processor
AMD AthlonXP Thoroughbred Processor - PCSTATS
Now with the smaller T-Bred officially out, AMD can ramp up the speed of their processors which badly needed a boost in raw MHz.
 80% Rating:   
Filed under: CPU / Processors Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: AMD Jun 11 2002   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > CPU / Processors > AMD AthlonXP

The AMD AthlonXP Thoroughbred Processor

AMD's long awaited AthlonXP "Thoroughbred" processor (aka T-Bred) has finally arrived. Built on 0.13 micron technology the T-Bred will run cooler then any Athlon/XP that proceeded it and allow AMD to ramp up the clock speed of their processors higher. Will this allow the AthlonXP to take back the speed crown from AMD's arch rival Intel and their Pentium 4 processors?

It's no secret that AMD lags behind Intel quite a bit in terms of pure MH z. However since the release of the Pentium 4, MHz or GHz is no longer a good indication of how fast a CPU is, since the Pentium 4 does quite a bit less work per clock cycle then an Athlon based CPU. The former top of the line AMD processor, the AthlonXP 2100+ (1.73 GHz) Palomino could often out perform a Pentium 4 2.0 GHz (Williamette or Northwood) despite having a 270 MHz clock speed disadvantage, and can even give a healthy challenge to Pentium 4's running at 2.4 GHz+ in most benchmarks.

Now with the smaller T-Bred officially out, AMD can ramp up the speed of their processors which badly needed a boost in raw MHz. The top end chip, the AthlonXP 2200+ officially runs at 1.8 GHz and still uses the 133/266 MHz FSB we've all become accustomed to. All T-Bred based cores are built at AMD's FAB 30 in Dresden Germany and still resides in the ever familiar Socket A we're all use to. The actual architecture of the T-Bred is no different then the larger 0.18 micron Palomino cores so clock for clock the cores are the same speed. The T-Bred is not only an exclusively top end processor either. It will run at various speeds the slowest, being 1700+ (1.46 GHz).

The actual transistor count has been decreased from 37.5 million to 37.2 million thanks to more efficient design and layout as well as lower voltage handling requirements. The T-Bred core is quite small at only 80mm2 compared to 128mm2 (Palomino) and 145mm2 (131mm2 for the 2.4 GHz+) Pentium 4 Northwoods. In terms of cooling, any heatsink/fan combo that can keep an Palomino XP2000+ or XP2100+ can cool the T-Bred processor as well.

Motherboards that support the older Palomino processors only need a simple BIOS update that to allow them to use the new T-Bred CPU's which is quite nice for ease of mind.

in Stop
in Stop
1700+ 1467 1.50V 44.9W 49.4W 29.9A 32.9A 2.8A 4.5A
1800+ 1533 46.3W 51.0W 30.9A 34.0A
1900+ 1600 47.7W 52.5W 31.8A 35.0A
2000+ 1667 1.60V 54.7W 60.3W 34.2A 37.7A 3.3A 5.4A
2100+ 1733 56.4W 62.1W 35.2A 38.8A
2200+ 1800 1.65V 61.7W 67.9W 37.4A 41.2A 3.6A 5.9A

As we can see the 1700+-1900+ models will run at a VCore of 1.5V however to allow the T-Bred to run stability at 2000 and 2100+ speeds the voltage has been raised slightly to 1.6V. At 2200+ they need yet more voltage, 1.65V! It seems AMD might be having a few problems with their manufacturing process since they're using an old overclockers trick (higher voltages) to reach the higher speeds! From what we've seen online as well, the T-Bred core has quite a bit to mature since the current test models aren't very overclockable.

In terms of architecture the T-Bred has all the familiar technology that comes with the Palomino, the biggest being Data Prefetch and Intel's SSE technology. Data prefetch allows the processor to look at data patterns and try to predict what information is needed next. After the "guess" is made, the information needed is brought to the CPU's cache via the main memory. Intel's SSE (Streaming SIMD Extensions) debuted about three years ago now with the release of their Pentium 3 line of processors. Intel pushed long and hard for software developers to adopt SSE into their programs and because more software was using Intel's special code rather then AMD's 3D Now! (competing technology), AMD decided to license SSE from Intel. This was a smart move on AMD's part since Intel has more clout then they do they can just let Intel do all the work.

We are as guilty as everyone else on the net thinking that the T-Bred would bring AMD back into the forefront of performance. The T-Bred is really only a Palomino on a 0.13 micron manufacturing process and really doesn't offer anything new. Only till the Barton comes out later this year will we see an actual boost in clock for clock performance for Athlon based processors. The T-Bred is not AMD's saviour, however they are betting that the T-Bred and with the Barton later this year is enough to hold down the fort till they can release their Hammer line of CPU's.


Contents of Article: AMD AthlonXP

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