AMD Ratchets Thunderbird to 1.1GHz
- By Scott Bekker
Users eager to join the post-gigahertz era can now order systems running at 1.1GHz, thanks to AMD. Advanced Micro Devices Corp. (AMD) began shipping their 1.1GHz Athlon, based on their “Thunderbird” core processor.
To date, Intel Corp. (www.intel.com) leads the desktop speed race with their 1.133GHz Pentium III. However, the Intel processor faces limited availability and the chips require a special motherboard using microcode instructions to run at 1.133GHz. In addition, reports have circulated that the chip is unstable – it may crash when used according to manufacturer’s specifications.
Unlike the Pentium III, which is based off of the old Coppermine architecture, the Athlon is based off of the new Thunderbird architecture, which was designed with enough headroom to reach speeds exceeding 1GHz. The 1.1GHz Athlon is expected to be widely available, and vendors such as Gateway Inc. (www.gateway.com) and Xi Computer Corp. (www.xicomputer.com) are currently taking orders for 1.1GHz systems on their web sites.
AMD (www.amd.com) processors are primarily deployed on end user desktops, because there are currently no multiprocessor motherboards for Athlon, and AMD has not gained recognition as a manufacturer suitable for enterprise environments. Because business users are unlikely to see much benefit from high speed chips, the 1.1GHz Athlons will initially be marketed primarily at enthusiast consumers. - Christopher McConnell
Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.