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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [10.01.02]
Manufactured by: AMD
Price: $349 (per 1000)

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Back So Soon?

It seems like just yesterday when AMD released their latest CPUs, the 2400+ and 2600+.  Actually that statement is only half true right now - The 2400+'s are just starting to show up, and 2600+'s have yet to be seen in stores at all.

So it is interesting to me that AMD is launching another CPU before their last launch is even complete.  I guess they're feeling a little extra from Intel lately; it seems as though every time AMD launches their fastest CPU, Intel responds just days later with a faster one.

And to make matters worse, Intel is actually able to ship their CPU's at launch date! In fact, before the 2.80 GHz was even officially announced, vendors were listing them on Pricewatch.

How these paper launches affect AMD in the long run should be interesting to find out.  I tend to think it will hurt overall, and the fact that the paper launches are getting worse and worse every time concerns me.

The CPU we are looking at today, the 2700+, is expected by AMD to be available to "select OEMs" in November, and to regular customers some time in Q402.  We don't even know if the CPU we're reviewing in October will be available to you by next Christmas!

AMD is also announcing the 2800+ today.  Again, it will be available to "select OEMs" in November, but don't expect to be able to buy one for yourself until some time in Q103.

AMD is stressing that today's review should be considered a 'first look' and not a full review.  They said that "Some of the rich features of this platform will not be fully experienced until the production products are released".  I'm not quite sure what they are talking about exactly; as far as I know, the only real difference between the pre-release CPU I have and the one that will be produced is the fact that the on die thermal diode is somewhat wonky.  I'm not sure if AMD is going to announce some other features the 2700+ and 2800+ will have after today's launch, but I can't imagine them holding back any information the day they launch it... I consider the whole 'first look' bit as an excuse for another paper launch.

With that little rant over, let's get to the CPU itself, because it is really interesting, and introduces new features to the AthlonXP CPU.  That makes it even more painful having to tell you about all the cool stuff you won't see for 1 or 2 months

Just What The Doctor Ordered

The Big Deal about the 2700+ is that is marks the first time AMD is stepping up to a 333 MHz (166 DDR) Frontside bus.  After watching the huge step in performance a recent FSB jump gave Intel, hopes are high for these new AthlonXP's.  For the longest time, AMD has just barely been beaten out by Intel, is a FSB increase just what AMD needs to come out on top?

Unlike Intel, AMD will not be naming their CPU's differently based on FSB speed, they are just using performance ratings.  I would have preferred for AMD to tack on a subscript to the name, especially if they are going to continue to release 266 MHz FSB AthlonXP's.

The new AthlonXP's still have 384K total cache (128K L1, 256K L2), and still use the latest AthlonXP core revision, "Thoroughbred".  By the time the CPU is launched, all mainboard vendors should have BIOS's supporting it on their KT333 and KT400 boards.  NFORCE2 boards should also support it.

The Test

Now let's find out what the FSB increase does for the AthlonXP! We're putting it up against Intel's latest, greatest, P4 2.80 GHz, which is only "100 MHz" away. 

All benchmarks we use are available on our Downloads Page (except those that aren't publicly available).

System Specs - AMD
: AthlonXP 2700+
Motherboard: Epox 8K3A+ (VIA KT333)
Memory: 512MB PC2700 (From Corsair and Crucial)
Hard Drive: 30GB IBM 7200 RPM ATA/100
Video Card: ATI Radeon 9700 Pro

System Specs - Intel
- Pentium 4 2.80 GHz
Motherboard: Abit IT72 MAX (Intel 845E)
Memory: 512MB PC2700 (From Corsair and Crucial)
Hard Drive: 30GB IBM 7200 RPM ATA/100
Video Card: ATI Radeon 9700 Pro

Ready? Let's Go!

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