It's been nearly 2 months to the day since we reviewed our first AthlonXP processor, sporting the funky "performance based" model numbers. Back then it was the then-top end AthlonXP 2000+ in a one-on-one battle against Intel's pride and joy, the Pentium 4 2.2 GHz Northwood.
In our review, the Pentium 4 won the battle by the slimmest of margins, because of its performance, the build of the chip, scalability, and a few other things that just made us nod our heads in the direction of Intel. This stirred quite a bit of controversy in the forums, with most AMD supporters spouting the same argument that AthlonXP's are cheaper. Yes, they are cheaper. But do you really want to base your purchasing decision on one single factor? A 300 HP Mustang is much cheaper than say, a BMW M5, but does that make it a better buy overall? For some people, maybe. For others who want more than just speed in a box, they are buying the BMW.
I am not saying the AthlonXP is a Ford in comparison to the P4 of course, I just want people to realize that there is so much more that should be considered besides just price and performance. Read the review to see what I mean.
Let's worry about the 2100 for now...
For now, we're just going to talk about AMD, since they were the first to come out with a new processor. We expect Intel to announce theirs very soon, and when they do, you can be sure we'll have another one-on-one battle.
The AthlonXP 2100+ is very likely to be the last 0.18 micron-based CPU from AMD. All I can say is good riddance! If AMD can do half as well with a 0.13 micron fabrication process, there is unbelievable potential for the next chip (codenamed: Thoroughbred). According to this press release, we are supposed to see the first 0.13-based Athlons by the end of this month... Well they are running out of time, because it's already the 27th, and I for one haven't seen anything as of yet... I guess it's still too early.
So now we have the very last 0.18 micron AthlonXP in our hands, in the form of a 1.73 GHz chip named "2100+". According to AMD, their 1.73 GHz chip will be able to outperform a Pentium 4 at 2.1 GHz. You know how silly this naming scheme is; I brought it up in the last review. What happens when the P4 starts using a higher FSB speed? We all know that Intel is planning on going to 533 MHz very soon, and we all know what a difference FSB speed makes...
I have seen the argument that AMD does not use P4 benchmarks to name their chips, but rather basic x86 architecture ratings. Looking at technical whitepapers may suggest so, but one look at how AMD is marketing their chips, and you'll see quite the contrary. The following quote was taken directly off AMD's AthlonXP FAQ:
"The AMD Athlon XP processor 2100+ will outperform an Intel Pentium® 4 processor operating at 2.0GHz"
I guess once the P4 starts to pull away, AMD can say something like "The AMD Athlon XP processor 2400+ will outperform an Intel Celeron processor operating at 2.30 GHz". ;)
Of course I'm being facetious, but you get my point I hope...
There is really not much new to talk about regarding this particular chip, other than a speed increase. Every thing else is the exact same as every other AthlonXP. Actually there is one thing that is different on many of them: AMD is switching to a green organic packaging, rather than the nasty looking brown they had used up until now. AMD says this is to match their company colours. Unfortunately, the 2100 I got was still brown, so I am still processing UPS-style :(
Other than that though, we'll have to wait until the 0.13 Athlon comes out to give you all sorts of neat information and marketing term translations. For now, sit back and enjoy some benchmark goodness in our brand new redesign...
A bit on our testing methods: Testing was done on WindowsXP. System Restore, Automatic Updates, and all WinXP advanced visuals were disabled. Windows update was run to install the latest critical updates, and miscellaneous drivers. For everything else, the latest official drivers from the manufacturers were used. Below is a description of the test rig used.
All benchmarks that are publicly available may be downloaded from our Downloads Page.
Motherboard: Shuttle AK35GT/R (reviewed here)
VIA 4-in-1 4.37V
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