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AMD Announces 1GHz Athlon Imminent 209

Foxpaw writes, "Not to be outdone by Intel, according to ZDNet UK, AMD is planning on simultaneously releasing the 900MHz, 950MHz and 1GHz Athlons, maybe as early as later this month. " I do have to say that the corporate peeing match between these two is pretty amusing - but if Intel is still having production problems, then AMD can continue to leverage their high-end chips.
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AMD Announces 1GHz Athlon Imminent

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  • Have you compared cars today with cars in the 70s? I'm not talking size or appearance, but under the hood. The engine designs were *much* simpler back then with lots of space around the engine, i.e., room to work and make repairs yourself. And overpowered? Sure! That's why they run so long. Didn't you know? An 8cyl engine runs cooler and lasts longer than a 4cyl engine? Even a poorly cared for engine that's lost 30% of its original power can still more than do the job required of it. Pop the hood on a late medel car and you'll see it's literally packed with sensors, canisters, more hoses than you can shake a stick at, ECM modules, and no rrom to reach down to the plugs/oil filter or anything. Forget self repair on all but the most trivial tasks. You have to drop the engine for that. And you're right. New cars are "more efficient". While this, in itself, is not a bad thing necessarily, the designers have reduced engine power and are *relying* on that efficiency to keep the working output power of the engine usable. Now, if you lose some efficiency, you're boned. Your car has to all work perfectly or it'll die. There's no robustness. No fault tolerance. No safety cusion. And vastly increased complexity combined with engine redesigns every year mean that 10-20 years later, you can forget finding technical parts (ECM modules, sensors, etc.) for your car. But then, I suppose, that's what automakers want. They want cars to become commodities you dispose of after 10 years tops. They don't want a design that lasts nor to stick with the same design over time to keep parts plentiful and cheap. New environmental laws are partly to blame as is the fiberglass/plastic chassis and total lack of bumpers on new cars whick are designed to "absorb energy" (i.e., be totaled and disposed of) in even low speed collisions rather than to have 150lb chromed steel bumpers front and rear that reflect energy from a collision. So my 79 Chevy double cab truck gets 8 MPG? I love it. So what if gas is at $1.79/gal for premium? That's small change on a SWE's salary. The 454 cu. in. engine can tow a Winnebago, or my boat, or a modern "efficient" car that broke down. The bumpers have taken a few bumps, but the truck stays protected. Oddly enough, all these modern "energy absorbing" cars actually have mede my truck even safer. So you "do better", I'll run longer. Which is really the better design?

    Getting back to PCs. Always buy the fastest top-of-the-line PC you can. It'll last you a few years and over the long run, will be cheaper than upgrading with cheaper PCs more often over the same time period. Overpowered... is good!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Of course, intel is not happy with AMD finally being able to deliver processors on time and in reasonable quantities. They saw AMD finally getting its fabbing act together early on, hence the terror campain against OEM mobo manufacturers (sp???). But their own (intel's) problems has literally pushed a few companies in the direction of the Athlon, so now they have to try something different to prevent AMD to gain _mindshare_.

    Two ways to do this:

    (1) find another way to make supply of Athlon-compatible mobos very limited -- hence the lawsuit against VIA.

    (2) create the perception that the Athlon is not that powerfull. One way to do it is to pit the Celeron against the Athlon, for Intel to use its formidable warchest to keep banging its drum the loudest and the longest to create the perception (yes, that word again) that the Athlon is a Celeron competitor, not a competitor against the P-III.

    There is enough "mindshare inertia", enough buyers (private or corporate) brainwashed by intel and enough companies scared sh**less by it (Dell is not the only one) that it's going to take a lot of time before the unwashed masses start thinking and beleiving that there is life beyond intel, that Pentium-whatever's are not the fastest chips around...

    Remember: the motus operandi here is "perception". Sadly, reality and truth are the first victims in The Real World, where perception is everything...

    What will really help is if other companies start making Athlon-compatible chipsets -- maybe even Athlon-Alpha compatible ones?

    (I've read somewhere that it could be done if Alpha's could be made using the same connection standard as the Athlon -- now, talk about open hardware, when you can even choose the kind of processor you put on your mobo!)
  • Heh, our research group needs fast x86 machines for medical image processing because 1) our customers want NT machines with nice happy Windows-based software to process life critical data (God only knows why.) and 2) Our professors have this attitude that we don't need to optimize the algorithms because machines will only get faster.

    Both groups should be taken out and sporked as soon as possible.

  • True, true. []
  • 1GHz chips -- or 950MHz, or 850MHz for that matter -- are mainly of use to high-end gamers and some corporate users.

    I think they misspelled "Windows 2000 users."

    The main benefit of the speed war to the user who wants basic Net surfing, email and gaming capabilities is that faster processors at the top-end mean more reasonably priced machines with faster chips lower down the chain.

    Mheh. No one will ever need $fastest_speed_cpu. All you will ever need is $slowest_currently_available_cpu in order to run $current_windows_verson and $current_office_version.


  • Heh, our research group needs fast x86 machines for medical image processing because 1) our customers want NT machines with nice happy Windows-based software to process life critical data (God only knows why.) and 2) Our professors have this attitude that we don't need to optimize the algorithms because machines will only get faster.
  • Course it's useful.........
    1. Games
    2. Only way to run commercial bloatware (not mentioning any names, Microsofy :)
    3. Games
    4. Erm, hang on a minute, I did have a reason. Oh yes.
    5. Games

    Basically the only thing the average PC owner will ever use the full power of his/her cpu for is games. Office apps (including spreadsheets) do not need all that power except that certain companies write crappy code (not necessarily crappy apps, but definately lazy code)

    Whether games as a genre are a valid way of justifying faster processors I'm not really sure but it is a case that what seems ti happen is this:

    Games Company write a cool game which sells well and they make oodles of dosh so they buy the latest hardware ahnd write a game for it, thus forcing uesrs to upgrade. As everyone is now upgraded, the manufacturers have to invent something faster - the games companies buy those and write games for them, so we upgrade again etc etc etc .

    In the meantime people like Intel try to justify the high-speed chips by jumping on the internet bandwagon and kinda indicating a 700MHz processor is used for decent surfing, failing to mention the 4.2k a sec I see to get through my modem......



  • AMD has a brand new Athlon core to work with, but Intel is doing all they can to s t r e c h the PPro/PII/PIII core to faster speeds by increasing the length of the pipeline everywhere they can.

    I assume the "increasing the length of the pipeline" is Intel's Wilmate (or whatever they call it). That is a totally new core. You don't double the pipeline length, slap on trace cache, and slip a 3Ghz ALU into an existing CPU. It is a totally new beast.

    Of corse new doesn't mean better. It will be hell on self-modifying code, and it may not even tolarate code that has read-only data on the same page as code! (the new CPU doesn't allow the DTLB and ITLB to map the same page, there is speculation that DTLB entryes shoot down whole big chunks of the trace cache). There can also be teathing problems on new CPUs. (see comp.arch for disscussions)

    Which doesn't mean this will go badly for Intel either. They normally do pretty well with each new CPU introduction. As long as they don't let AMD push them into going too fast, I don't expect problems, but who knows?

  • Uhhh...1984 is at least six, possibly seven or eight years older than the very first 404 error, at least from a protocol running on port 80. You could make it work with FTP, I guess...
  • DOOOH!

    Never mind moderators... Once you post to an article you have moderated, the moderation gets "undone". How about that!

    So, sorry for another offtopic post, but if other moderators have the same problem I had, just post to the topic, and your moderation will be undone.

    Hopefully, I don't get a karma penalty for posting to a topic I moderated (which I would not have done except to correct an error), but if I do, I guess that is better then the alternative of unfairly moderating a comment down.

    So anyway, everyone can ignore my previous posts except the original poster (who still deserves an apology) and microsft (who should still change the binding of the scroll mouse), and perhaps the odd moderator that made the same error I did, and wants to correct it (just post to the article you incorrectly moderated).

    Bill "Ooops" Kilgallon
  • Will Apple port the MacOS X for the AMD chip? It looked like that PowerPC reaches 1GHz more quickly than others. What are the IBM and the Motorola doing?
  • Don't need to wonder why, have you ever seen comparisons of a voodoo II SLI vs G200, or even used both? The G200 is dog slow compared to a V2 SLI config at the same CPU speed, so this was an illistration of the raw CPU power of the Athlon.

    Don't use cheezola motherboards and you will be fine. Celerons at one point were faster than the PII at the same clock, so don't knock em down.
  • My Athlon 650 in a K7M was driving a higher frame rate with a G200 than my old 333 Celeron in a Bx6-2 and 12Mb Voodoo II SLI's.

    Blew me away, and my Rocksim sims were much quicker. Have you actually tried an Athlon?
  • I think the concept is that the World Wide Web (as an applicaiton) would cause the Apple ][ guy to crap.

    Don't forget, back in the early '80s there was lots of hype about personal computers and the on-line future. It was promised back then that you would soon be able to send mail, talk, shop, have sex, do anything on computer networks. Early systems like interactive cable TV, CompuServe, TheSource, Prodigy, and even AOL never quite measured up, and it took 15 more years before the Internet started delivering on the promise.
  • , I think that "law" (and I use that term very loosely) was only created for revenue purposes

    You are absolutely correct. Moore's law was not just an academic prediction -- it was a mandate to Intel's engineering department. It's also been used by Intel's marketing department to set prices. (You would think that AMD and RISC vendors wouldn't have any trouble competing with Intel, because Intel's business plan is public and widespread knowledge.)

    On paper, Moore's law keeps a stream of revenue coming because it obsoletes hardware every 18 months. In reality, software technology can't keep up with the CPU for most users, so the cycle is quite a bit longer. In fact, processor speed is hardly the real reason for most system upgrades -- the cheap disk and limited memory and the labor costs of upgrading are the real reason people keep coming back for new systems every two years for new systems with fast CPUs and cheap disks and limited memory.
  • AMD has nowhere near the plant capacity to whoop on Intel.

    The pro-AMD lobby here on /. is really only focused on a tiny fraction of the market -- the folks who pay a premium to have the very fastest CPU available. It's a dick-sizing contest, that's all. The worst AMD can do cut into Intel's profit margins a bit, and not go out of business themselves (which 2 years ago they were close to doing). Intel's still running at 100% production capacity, and can't build fabs fast enough. A rising tide is going to lift all boats.
  • Ok, let's say AMD whoops on Intel. Big deal.

    And, let's say Intel bottoms out (highly unlikely) someday because AMD kills them with chip sales. Big deal.

    why(you_keep_saying('big deal'))?

    Because I just like having someone to compete with Intel to keep chip prices down (the whole idea behind capitalism). I don't want AMD to smash Intel, lest they become the Big Corp. themselves and "pull an Intel".

    And any company that dominates marketshare will "pull an intel". Plain and simple. Just keep the prices low and the new chips coming (no Intel chip stagnation anymore, eh?) and I'll be satisfied.
    ----- if ($anyone_cares) {print "Just Another Perl Newbie"}
  • Yeah... I think I'd have to rate Intel I.R./"slower than" (Improvement Required - Intel-ites will identify with this) for alot of 1998, all of 1999 and this year, too.

    For most of the last decade, they've been able to count on the fact that manufacturing capacity and lawyers would keep them at the top. But, guess what, good (great?) CPU architecture and related implementation technology matters, too.

    Intel didn't get to the top because they had the best tech, but more because IBM handed them CPU market dominance on a platter while (in the early 1980's) IBM was having its own problems in court regarding monopolistic practices. Ditto for Microsoft re: DOS/Windoze.

    Intel is just now starting to realize they've been suffering from a horrid case of denial for several years, and have no clue how to deal with actual competition. Now its coming back to bite them, and that's too bad.

    Intel has many talented engineers, but also has marketers, managers and executives that are completely out of touch with that engineering talent and what it takes to create (and sell) the best CPU technology. Unfortunately, 'marchitecture', not architecture, is the rule at Intel.

    I can see the CPU market changing radically 'Real Soon Now'.

  • I had this dream last night that for some reason the AMD stock went plummeting or something else happend and that caused them to totally go out of business. I was so mad and was confused why it was happening. I remember saying "Dammit, now chip prices are gonna skyrocket! They were just going down too!" It was quite odd... Can anyone analyze it perhaps? hehe

  • What would Netscape do to cause this person to "pop his pants"? You can't connect to a BBS with it. The internet won't be available to you and even if it was every link in your bookmarks file would give you a 404 error.

    And then, even if you managed to get on the nascent internet and found some odd scientific "web" page with nothing but text NS would decide to crash a horrible death for no apparent reason.

  • Well I suppose I could commute to work just fine in a 3-cylinder 1.0 litre 80 hoursepower Suzuki Swift. But, I have much more fun driving my 2.8 litre 174 horsepower Jetta VR6.

    Why wait?
  • AMD is responsible for the chip price wars and the better overall chips. If AMD weren't around, Intel could do basically what they want because they would dominate the CPU market. That means we'd be using P3-400's at high prices.

    If you're an Intel fan and enjoy getting your excellent Pentium chips at reasonable prices, recommend AMD Athlon processors to friends and corporations you can influence. Personnally I own three AMD chips and couldn't be prouder. The Athlon is awesome, and deserves the credit.

    The same could also apply to Microsoft. If you run Linux and like Linux, buy Linux software (rather than pirating it). The software is excellent and cheap. I've bought about 7-8 commercial software packages for Linux (including Corel Linux, WP8 for Linux, Q3A, Railroad Tycoon, etc...)

    The more we buy, the fiercer the competition gets, the lower the prices, the higher the technological advances!
  • Moore's law was never a natural law. It was an observation that turned into a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    Used to be when people wondered how long Moore's Law would last, they meant "how long till increases slow down". Now it looks like competition between Intel and AMD will break Moore's law in the other direction. . .
  • With the Athlon AMD showed they know how to build processors, but know they have to prove they can keep it going. I'm afraid they might make mistakes by hurrying the process. They can't permit to bring out a bad processor. K6 is still to short ago to be forgotten.
  • AMD has taken a "We don't announce until we can ship in volume" approach to the Athlon.
    If they announce that they have 1Ghz, then that means that they're shipping 1Ghz Athlons.
    This is completely different from how Intel has been doing things lately: making an announcement and not shipping more than a handful of processors for another 30-60 days. Not kosher. It means that AMD is beating the pants out of Intel, at the production level.

  • true. also for java speed is a requirement not an option. Just ONE server running java servlets at my place has 10 500MHz CPUs NOW..and we could use all the horsepower we can get our hands on. SSL sucks up CPU like anything as does java. i'd love to get 10 1GHz CPUs instead of 500MHz. or even 10 2GHz CPUs...preferably cheap.
  • by tono ( 38883 )
    See subject line for initial reaction.

    Now that the initial reaction has passed, I'm wondering at what megahertz the Thunderbird and Spitfire revisions of the Athlon will be released. Initial reports were 1.1 Ghz, but if this "my dick is bigger than your dick" match continues they may end up being released at a considerably higher frequency. They aren't scheduled to be released till the end of April, beginning of May. 1.5Ghz anyone?

  • and thus the facts have been told.
  • IIRC, there was some slight change in icons or something in the W98 UI that was kind of the same thing, just different enough to make it distinguishable from 95.

    They made the menus "slide" open instead of having them just pop up. This "feature" is one of the first things I turn off when I install/reinstall Win98 on a computer, and if I'm using someone else's computer for any length of time, I'll turn it off on that computer. Less CPU time for GUI frills means more CPU time for Prime95 []. :-)

  • Dear AC:

    Your criticism would be much more believeable if you (1) offered reasons to back you up, (2) checked your facts, (3) learned to spell your competition's product names, even if you didn't like them, and (4) offered some sort of proof you had tried this yourself.

    I currently agree with you that the G4 is a very advanced processor, especially next to the x86 line of processors, but have you actually played with an Athlon? Another thing you may want to consider is cost.
  • 1. If you haven't bought AMD stock yet, find a broker fast! It's heading above $60 soon.

    2. I believe that AMD already has chips well over 1 GHz and is merely letting them dribble into a greedy hands while watching Intel's contortions as it tries to keep up.

    3. Don't mistake me, Intel is not going away. It's dominance, however, is shifting to a company that is smaller and faster to respond to changes in the CPU industry.

    4. My next CPU is AMD!

  • Tom's German. Try reading his site a bit more!
  • It helps to surf around instaed of grousing about things: Dual Athlon Chipset still in this year AMD presented today the current Athlon timetable for the year 2000: Therefore there is to be a follow-up version of the Irongate Chipset AMD750 (Northbridge 751) in the second yearly half named Irongate-4 (Northbridge 770), also the dual processor systems enabled. For larger computer rechnerboliden one develops a chip record, which enables systems with at least four processors in co-operation with alpha Processors (API) and HotRail. Everything multi-processor-chip-corrodes can with double DATA rate memory modules (GDR SDRAM) deal. These memory latch plates permit a max. theoretical datentransfer of 1,6 GByte/s (PC200 or also called by AMD PC1600) or 2.1 GByte/s (PC266 alias PC2100). The Athlon is to receive a faster front Side bus, which runs then with 133 mc/s clock frequency to 33 per cent in this year. With still the GDR technique already used with the Athlon FSB is then the transfer of 266 million data items per second possible. (AMD: Hall 13, status D08) (ciw/ c't)
  • if you want athlons at 850 mhz and "wholesale prices"cruise by

    with new CPU processor speeds coming out, prices there will change dramatically in the next month.
  • I used to work with this guy who's penis envy was so overwelming that everytime I, or any other of our coworkers, would get a new PC or upgrade the processor in our old machine, within a week (just after our next paycheck) he would have upgraded his machine to be "faster" than anyone elses. The funny (and sad) thing was that we only made minimum wage and this guy had to little girls and a wife to take care of. But he would spend all or almost all of his entire paycheck just so he could say he had the faster computer.

    Thats what Intel and AMD are starting to remind me of.
  • How hot this things will go ?
    If your cpu cooler fails won't the entire computer melt/burst in flames ?

    I like to let my computers running unattended and a cooler fan failure is a disaster. (someone i know just blowed an pII450 due to an dust-clogged fan). I hate fans, they're unreliable and make noise (can't sleep with them running).

    Transmeta: PLEASE release a dual Crusor m/b faster. Until then i'll stay with my trusty no-cooler, no-heatsink, no-noise 486dx50 (powersource fan disabled, hdd powerdown after 1minute) ...

  • According to the guy who builds all of our systems, there are not reliable MBs for the Athlon chips.

    There are also no multiporcessor MBs for Athlon chips, I am told.

    Don't count Intel out yet. Micrprocessor wars always focus on the chip characteristics, but people buy SYSTEMS -- hardware, software, development tools, ...

  • It's been about a year since the P3-500 came out, so yes, Moore's Law has been thoroughly shattered.

    However, it already had been by graphics cards(look at nVidia's web site, "MOORE'S LAW IS FOR WIMPS!"), so I'm not as impressed as I might be.


  • Well all us geeks out here understand the need for fast processors. Why? So that in 4 months i can buy it dirt cheap and overclock it to where processors are at that time. I like my athlon 500 cuz its overclocked to 750. Now it requires a decent heat sink and a 1/3 l2 cache multiplier but who cares when i can pump out an average of 63fps in Unreal tournament.
  • 1GHz chips -- or 950MHz, or 850MHz for that matter -- are mainly of use to high-end gamers and some corporate users. The main benefit of the speed war to the user who wants basic Net surfing, email and gaming capabilities is that faster processors at the top-end mean more reasonably priced machines with faster chips lower down the chain.

    It's nice to see the media picking up on this.
  • Let me comment on your comment if you don't mind:

    Nah, I won't throw anymore recursiveness into the mix. :P

    I hope you mean recently Intel hasn't been able to mass produce or leapfrog AMD cause if you don't then you need to read about what has happened in these two companies for the last 10 years.

    Well we're not really talking about the last 10 years here. What's been happening with AMD started just recently, within a year ago.

    but like all others who Cry "Love AMD" you are forgetting AMD has pulled the same crap Intel is right now.

    AMD has had problems in the past, yes. And they were even on the brink of bankruptcy or selling out not too long ago. Right up until the very day the first Athlon was released, AMDs business plan was to produce processors for the low- to mid-perfermance PC market. 586+ and K6's, you know the stuff. Now they want to be a performance player, and I must say, they are kicking ass.

    If Intel and AMD put together can't meet CPU demands, maybe that tells us something about the computer market right now. It looks like there's room for yet another player or two. That would make things *real* interesting. :)

    Tom's Hardware is very pro-AMD

    I can't really dispute this. You mention that it's American tradition to root for the underdog, this is true to a point, but it's *especially* true when the underdog suddenly starts kicking ass after being shit on by the overdog. Tom is constantly being accused of being biased toward certain manufacturers and brands, etc. I've spent a lot of time reading his site, and I don't really see that as true. Tom's mission seems to be to promote the best hardware and shit on anything else that isn't the best (ie- most powerful). I liked the Athlon and GeForce articles, and I thought they were informative. I ended up buying an Athlon and GeForce and minus about a week of bug-working-out, I have a rock-solid system and no complaints. And I know it's got to be one of the fastest computers on the planet. For awhile, at least. :)
  • I did not make any permanent modifications to the chip. I did take off the plastic cover and attached a "gold fingers device" made by K7OC [].

    I runs stable at 750 and 1/2 cache by increasing the voltage to 1.7 and the multiplier to 7.5. Once it boots to Windoze, I can reduce the cache multiplier to 2/5 in software using H.Oda's wcpua2 program and then increase the front side bus to 110 using SoftFSB for a grand total of 825 or so. Best performance was at 750 so I leave it there (or even lower to keep it cooler.)



  • You hit the nail right on the head. I recently upgraded to an Athlon 500 and bought the stuff to overclock it all the way up to 800 MHz. Runs great but I really can't tell the difference between 500 and 750 in anything but a few 3D games. I clocked it back down to 650 just to keep it cool.

    We may be entering into an unprecedented time of PC's. Older generation PC's run most people's applications just fine, let alone if they were running Linux instead of Winblows. Its hard to justify the high prices for many tech stocks if the incentive to upgrade goes away.
  • And the Athlon is faster and cheaper at the same clock speed! I gotta buy me some AMD stock...
  • I got so fed up with the noise from the cluster in my office (which is just across the hallway from my bedroom) that I had one of those double glazed doors installed. Keeps the noise in and provides extra security too! Also I grow Orchids in that room as it's good for all the plants that require a higher temperature.
  • by hecix ( 91194 )
    Now all I will have to do is up-grade my motherboard, memory and Graphics card now...
    I wonder how hot these processors run
    try out this UK based linux site []

  • Mandatory Discaimer
    I'm not a Microsoft fan

    I've taken a bunch of CS courses and most of my friends are CS majors, so I realize how much pride you take in your code. However, bloat, whether it be from lazy coding or 3rd and 4th generation languages, is a fine use of computer speed. (There, I said it.) I know business people who can use VB; It's certainly a lot better than COBOL. Extra features... why can't I have it all? Shortened design times? That's worth a lot of money.

    I've read the articles on the so called wizards of programming, the people who could squeeze code into the smallest space. I agree it's really neat, but in the real world, product design time is probably the most crucial design feature.

  • I also sleep... sometimes.
  • What would Netscape do to cause this person to "pop his pants"? You can't connect to a BBS with it. The internet won't be available to you and even if it was every link in your bookmarks file would give you a 404 error.

    Ok, smart guy...ever hear of "Offline Browsing"? :-)

  • How many applications these days are really processor bound? Sure this'll speed up your SETI rate, but is that a good reason to buy a $500 processor? I just went from a 300 Mhz to a 466 Mhz chip. You'd think that would be a noticeable difference in the everyday user experience. Nope. Feels just about the same -- even on Win 2K. Now what would a 1 Ghz do for me?

    The same argument could have been made 15 years ago...who needs an 8 mhz Macintosh when my 1 mhz Apple ][+ can do word processing, spreadsheets, play games, send email, etc., and fit everything on a floppy.

    However, if you could take a PC system running Win98, Office 2000, Netscape, and Quake III Arena back to 1984, that Apple ][+ guy would poop in his pants.

    There's still a tremendous amount of growth left in computing. Not everyone needs to be on the bleeding edge, but everyone will benefit eventually.

  • The scientific comuunity will wet itself in anticipation of getting this computing power. Simulations, weather patterns, raw data processing, you name it. Some would even boast of having one of these babies running the printing queue.



  • I just spent $300 on an Athlon 700 and $160 on a AMD 750 based motherboard (MSI K7-Pro (very, very nice board)), and it bar far outperforms my old system, very noticable (my old box was a 350...) -Casey
  • The 500, 550, and 600 are all the same chip. Athlons are also very overclockable, and AMD will let you overclock them. I just made an overclocking card for my Athlon and my 500 is running at 700 (stable) with just a heat sink. You can get the instructions from
  • well, they're finally here, but one question, are they gonna only release a few like intel, and only sell them to big manufactureres, or are they going to release them to OEM's so everyone can buy just the chip?
  • The very same thing was said about the 386, the 486 and the first pentiums when they first came out.
    But one year ago, you had to pay as much for a 400 MHz system as you do for a 800 MHz today.
    If faster processors wasn't released, you would *still* be paying the same high price for the 400 MHz.
    There is a reason why they put ridicous prices on the newest processors, and that is to get as much money from them as possible before being forced by competition to lower them.
    In a year and a half you will probably be able to buy 1GHz systems as a cheap low end system, if you are able to find such a slow processor in stock somewhere.
    But personally, I'll stick to my overclocked 300 (now 450) celeron until it burns or slot1 compatible processors are going out of stock.
    Then I'll buy a (at that time) slow low end processor cheap and use it until it's to slow for what I want to do.
    At that time I'll be forced to upgrade my motherboard, memory and all my old isa cards.
    Just like I have been doing for the last couple of processor generations.
    So, imho, ridiculously fast and expensive stuff is great because it makes the cheap stuff faster. =-)

  • I think I already said that, except less sarcastically ... oh no, that was Intel, not AMD.

    See: Hz not a good mesure of performance [] (Score:2, Insightful) posted to 1-GHz Pentium III Due This Month []

    Anywho, peas out, or whatever, Thad
  • This article [] claims AMD is going to announce their 1GHz Athlon on Monday. Of course, one can only imagine what supply is going to be like. ;-)

  • "It's all about the Bejamins baby!"

    This sums it up. Progress in this whole industry (hardware at least) is so very incremental. There is waaaaaayy too much $$$ to be made by putting out a little at a time. I think it is too funny (almost shamefully so on Intel's part) how just before the beginning of this year (end of 1999) we were hearing it would be third or fourth quarter of 2000 before we would see 1 GHz proc's running around. Funny how a little competition changes things and shifts paradigms. Moore's Law, Schmoores Law! Sometimes, I think that "law" (and I use that term very loosely) was only created for revenue purposes. It just keeps a steady, bankable flow in of cash coming in for Intel. Now, AMD has blown that "law" out of the water by taking the fight directly to Intel, then one little slip up in production schedules an BAMMM!! the carpet gets pulled out from beneath you.

    Also, I remember not so long ago when IBM (maybe Motorola too?) comes out and says, "Hey we're going to use Copper interconnects, screw Aluminum." The word from Intel? "We're gonna stick with Aluminum. We still have a ways to go with it before we exhaust it's possibilities." What a load of crap!! They just wanted to hold out on using Copper so they can milk Aluminum (and milk the customer) for all it's worth. Well, that's MHO anyway. Anyone else agree? Disagree?

    Official Disclaimer: Mind you, the above statements are not the original statements from the above mentioned companies, merely my recollections (to the best of my meager abilities.) Also, the opinions expressed above are not necessarily those of Slashdot, or me for that matter ;-) So don't go gettin' all lawsuit happy on me! []
  • Intel and AMD keep releasing faster and faster chips but

    1. They have trouble producing them in quantity.
    2. They prices are simply ridiculous. Who the hell needs a 1GHz CPU if it costs more then an average computer?

    So, in light of this, I am wondering: do they actually manage to sell any of these "super-fast" CPUs? And if they do, what kind of luser would buy them?
  • Errr... my apologies.

    I was moderating, and this idiot microsoft scroll mouse bumped this to offtopic while I was scrolling down. There is no verification before moderation, so the parent of this post got bumped to offtopic, which is not at all what I intended to do.

    Other moderators, else, please moderate this back up.

    Poster, please accept my humble apologies.

    Scroll mice owners, carefull, if you happen to drag the mouse pointer over a drop down box while scrolling down (not hard to do), the value in the box will be silently changed.

    Slashdot architects... could you give a "verify" screen before committing the moderation activities?

    Microsoft... the scroll mouse is like a decent idea with a flakey implementation. Can't you just bind the thing to the main window scroll bars? That is really the main place it is usefull, as a drop down dialog selector it probably creates 10 errors for every proper action I use it for.

    Everyone else... sorry for being offtopic, I am just trying to correct my mistake...

    Bill "so much for my karma" Kilgallon
  • This kind of one upmanship is excellent on the whole for consumers like myself. However, I am going to be more than a little wary of new chipsets and chip designs in this kind of a cycle of fierce competition. Remember, testing is the easiest part of development to shorten, at least in a manager's eyes. These chips already have cooling systems from (or perhaps for) hell, and I'm going to wait until a certain ammount of "public beta testing" is over before I put them in a production system.
  • I'm so sick of morons asking for dual Crusoe motherboards/setups. Are you people retarded? The Crusoe is designed for low power low profile devices, this means it is designed for things the size of laptops, not 2' beige towers! A dual Crusoe would mean a complete rework on the VLIW translation code and the ability to buy these things retail not to metnino MORE POWER. You're not going to buy these retail, they're going to be supplied by OEMs. Dual machines come from the need for beacoup processing power, the Crusoe is not designed for beaucoup processing power.
  • Since the marketing people at Dell, Compaq, and Gateway realize their consumer base is composed of idiots and buffoons they hype up these "ultra-fast" processors and tell people it will last them into the next geological epoch. However people with a little more technical savvy and reasoning skills (we also tie our shoes without help from our mommies, most of us anyways) realize that higher speed doesnt mean better performance. The anaology between a Ferarri and a Beetles is that both will get you there but one will get you there faster, that may be so but the Beetle will be able to go farther because it doesn't use as much gas and run for a longer time because it's less likely to break down because of less stress on the engine. Where consumers ought to start looking isn't faster processors, merely a larger number of them. Multiple processor setups will greatly increase the speed and efficiency of programs if they're written with multi-threading in mind. People who build servers and mainframes like Sun and IBM have realized this already. Now all it will take is a trickling down of the technology to the average consumer. The price/performance rate is much better on a dual setup than buying a 1Ghz processor. Be has really excellent SMP performance because all of it's apps are designed with SMP in mind, only a handful of Windows apps are and Linux apps usually need some code tweaking to work correctly. I'd love to see consumer SMP boxes, especially from people like Apple who are really creaming over media editing on personal systems (Be has already worked through this idea). While we're migrating to SMP set-ups, lets kill off ATA please.
  • Has anyone had any thoughts as how these chip frequencys might affect 900mhz phones? If at all? Maybe cause some problems if you have a phone near a fast box?
  • Is that these chips aren't as good as they ought to be. Many moons ago, before the Athlon, Intel was slow to put out new chips. They always had to attack the problem of getting Really Fast Cache(tm) to go with the Really Fast MHz(tm). The chips would only increment about 50-66 MHz in speed, but would actually show a decent performance increase.

    Today? It's a blatant race for pure MHz. Your average /.'er can tell you that there's more to speed then just MHz, or we'd all just be using cache-less Celerons clocked at 2 GHz. AMD and Intel are just showing off who has the bigger [censored].

    Who said competition helped everyone? It certainly doesn't mean jack-all in a world where only one number means anything.
  • What planet are you from?

    Have you ever used Office 2000? Did you ever see what was out in 1992?. Geez, in 1992 everyone was just upgrading from PFS:Works to some gui product.

    Nowadays, with Office 2k, i got dynamic data exchange, ODBC connectivity, easy templates, WYSWIG (wasn't perfected in 1992 quite yet), support for more then 32k records/files. (when your saving history or documents for years on end for auditing reasons, the 1992 software won't cut it).

    The list can go on and on. Alot has changed since then people. Mhz = power, and power = control.

    He who controlls the spice, controlls the universe. And yes, there is lots that can be done, but it is simply remarkable what has been done.

    Remember, some of us slashdot readers were born before 1980 and remember what was around and what has changed.

  • so maybe when these 1ghz are pennies to the dollar, they can uses these as controllers for the bus, disk and io subsystems.

    It kind of reminds me of amiga, seperating the subsystems and processing through multiple chips.

    I think distributed os's and computing is the future! but hey, x86 and sparc architecure and specs are abundant.. when will we see someone run with it and create an open system?

  • Paraphrased quote:

    "Nobody needs more than 640Kb of memory." - Bill Gates

    On a more serious note, the chips will be in high demand for (inclusively, not exclusively) servers and gamers. The fact that more people are using the internet means that the demand for a faster server is going to always increase. As for gamers, computer games are probably one of the few genres of applications that continually push the limit of the state-of-the-art computers nowadays. You think having GeForce is enough? Now that we offload the geometry and lighting to the video card, the CPU can spend more time creating more lifelike and realistic AI.

    And of course, chips introduced at a higher speed means that the lower-grade CPUs will have their costs slashed, which is a definite good thing for consumers.

    And finally, do you expect Intel and AMD to close down their R&D because "nobody needs faster comptuers anymore"? there's always Microsoft to make them look slow ;)

  • Really? I'm surprised. I went with the FIC Mobo (only problem I hit was its size... it takes up the FULL tray which can be a problem if your case isn't deep enough) and haven't had a problem (FYI I'm running Win98).

    It was the first one that AMD listed as being certified for their 800mhz chip (although by now so is everyone else). When I check AMD's site they no longer listed the K7M from ASUS _anywhere_ on the motherboard page. Could they have dropped it due to ASUS's lack of acknoledging the product existed?
  • Yeah, kind of funny how the "Coppermine" still uses Aluminum interconnect! AMD have already moved to copper in their Dresden mfg facility, so Intel's definitely going to have problems keeping up with AMD's speeds.

    Apparently Intel is having *hideous* speed problems with Merced/Itanium. AMD's "Sledgehammer" may well crush Intel.

  • >* Dirt cheap price (i.e. a fast CPU for $20).

    Well, a K6-2 500 runs ~$45-50 now, which is pretty darn cheap...

    >* Negligible power consumption.


    >* Much smaller, less clunky systems (of which a low power, cheap CPU is an important part).

    Well, not everyone always really wants this. That's great for nice products, like a Palm, or laptop, but I'd still rather have a 2' tower under my desk, with expansion room, and room to add horsepower as I see fit. It all depends what you want it to do... I wouldn't use a laptop for CAD or numbercrunching - I don't like the limitations of portable devices. I *don't* want my TV, microwave, etc enabled with networking... dreamcast networking is a neat step forward for that platform, and I think centrally controlled lighting (X-10, etc) is a great thing, but thesee things don't need real CPUs.... Many people think they *need* something, and end up never using it... I like to make the most use of what I have...
  • They can take up a lot of extra wires and gates to try to overcome some of the higher speed problems... differential designs are great, but at the expense of increased chip design. At least you can be sure when your data is stable without clocking, though. Really neat stuff.
  • I've been told the newer chipset versions have been more stable than the originals, too (stands to reason that things would improve). Asus has a great history of stability, and they have always impressed me greatly. I know someone who just got one of the new FIC Athlon boards, and he's been stress testing it for about 6 days now... so far so good (lots of apps/compiles/games all runs with scripts, most of which serve little purpose than to test all available paths and try to create tough situations for the board/chip). One thing to always check is that the chipset is properly cooled... it never used to be much of a problem, but ever since the BX started pushing to 100MHz, and now others are doing that and more, with more buffers and all sorts of good stuff, heat becomes a problem, especially when sitting beneath a sizzling processor. Just something to think about.

    The CPU may be the brain of your system, but a top notch motherboard really makes the difference.
  • Regarding Moore's Law (or hypothesism which is a more accurate description) - it can be maintained for a while usng x-ray lithography along with newer SOI and copper technologies, and in a few years, maybe IBM's electron-beam lith will be cheap or fast enough to use with larger scale mass production cards, but we'll have to see. Humans are amazingly inventive creatures who overcome seemingly impossible physical limitations via little tweaks and large leaps (with the tweaks sometimes giving the insight necessary to figure out the leaps...).

    As always, the benefits fall to the consumer, who is pretty happy with a 200/333/450 MHz PC processor, but boy, can Excel go fast now, or just look at how smooth Quake IX Arena is now! Most people really don't need such capabilities for their PCs, but gamers do, CAD designers do, coders love fast compiles, accountants are made happier by fast refreshes, and everybody loves it when everything just 'feels' faster.

    A lot of the technology research that is motivated by processor market and communications market allows for greater gains in other highly specific areas... look how far graphics cards have come in the last few years. Everyone gains from this, as long as they realize that even last months technology is good enough for most people (see the Gateway commercial where the guy is bringing home a T5 (can't help thinking about Cray) and sees the signs put up for a T6)...

    Of course, if things continue to push the way they have, we might continue to see more power-sucking features that force out old computer faster (fade in/out pull down menus in Win2k?! I mean, really - it's a menu, not an ancient scroll from D&D). I haven't upgraded a processor in any of my boxes for over a year now (the horror), but a couple running at 450 leaves me pretty happy, and I'll wait a little while before I make a large leap to a really screaming CPU/vid upgrade... I also just spent a lot moving into a new house, so that saps
    the tech budget a little, too 8^)

    Life is good in the commodity PC market for buyers, though. Take advantage of it.
  • No, she doesn't need a lot of things... she doesn't need a laptop, she doesn't even need a full computer (maybe a thin client). Specific devices for specific needs is the idea. There are a lot of applications for the low-power, dirt cheap processors, there's no denying that... it's just that a blanket statement like the following bothers me:
    >Could we please get back on track and work on something that computer users really want, like
    [snipped the list]

    When one speaks for *all* computer users (without consulting us all first 8^) you take a chance... therefore, I offered a diffrence of opinion, which is why we get to comment on stories.

    Another salient point is that pushing the performance limits leads to lower power consumption per MHz/MIP/whatever, and really *does* help out the dirt-cheap low-power stuff. As the newer lith processes improve, less voltage is required to drive the chip, so power can decrease. Yes, a 1GHz chip will create a lot of heat and use a lot of power, but the same process used on a 500MHz chip will use far less - power changes linear with frequency, and with the square of the voltage difference (a lower voltage can be used at lower frequenciesm since less current is required, due to longer setup times). If we can produce a 1.5GHz chip that sucks 50 watts at 2 volts, a 500MHz chip (same core) that runs at 1.2v would use 6 watts, and I'm sure you could make a much simpler core that wouldn't be as power-sucking in the first place, and get it down further.

    Pushing the envelope from several direction can really help (just don't knock it off the table 8^)
  • You mean like the next generation of Athlon motherboards that will feature DDR-SDRAM at 133(2) Mhz memory for a bandwidth of 2.1 GB/s. The EV6 bus that we all love running at 133(2) Mhz and 200(2) for server boards and AGP 4x/PRO? Oh, don't forget UltraWide SCSI 3 and ATA100 is also just around the corner. HDD manufacturers are also in the final stages of design and testing of 10,000 rpm IDE drives and before long 15,000 rpm SCSI drives will be commonplace. But you're right, faster processors are pretty useless. When the performance difference between an Athlon 650 and Athlon 700 is 7-8% realworld and 9.3% hypothetical, that 1-2 percent is just too much to bare. Optical Storage is vaporware, UltraWide SCSI 3 is not.

  • What about a network connection that is bottlenecked by my SYSTEM ?
    Anything's possible. I once plugged my Apple Newton 120 into an Ethernet network...
  • I can easily imagine the value of ever-increasing processor speeds. If 500MHZ was enough, why would people ever buy computers with 2, 4, or 8 processors? The big huge database server is never going to be too fast. Any web server doing a lot of dynamic content is never going to be too fast.

    Even at home, I've written a program to do some simple stock market analysis. Since I get info on more than 12,000 stocks, and I have data going back 10 years, it takes hours to compute. It used to take 12 hours for it to work on a 486 I used way back when. Now, I have an AMD Athlon 600, and it takes 4 hours, and I've added a whole lot more computation in to the program since because I can.

    But, I do agree about one aspect - games. I used to play Doom. I played Quake 1 a little, too. But not anymore. Why? Because who needs the headache of keeping up with Video cards, memory, and processors just to play games? I've always preferred non-realtime strategy games anyway (although there are no great ones out there), so I just decided no more games. It's not even close to worth it.
  • Ah, this is great. Chip manufacturers are increasing power consumption in exchange for no notcible benefit. Could we please get back on track and work on something that computer users really want, like:

    * Dirt cheap price (i.e. a fast CPU for $20).
    * Negligible power consumption.
    * Much smaller, less clunky systems (of which a low power, cheap CPU is an important part).
    * Zero boot time.

    There are companies working on such things, but other than Transmeta you never hear about them. iTV [] has been working on a CPU that costs $2, with the goal of manufacturing network-aware devices for under $50. And there are others.
  • It seems to me everytime a CPU / Motherboard speed post is made, the 4+ mod'ed up respondents devolve their conversations into one of two camps, fighting the same old arguement:

    1. "Why do people need faster computers? I just dropped in my shiny new _____(number) mhz processor which cost me $_____ (number), and I can't tell the difference when running _____ (noun). Sure I'll have lots of extra cpu cycles to donate to _____ (noun), but does that _____ (verb) me?

    2. "Many people need faster computers. ______ (pural noun) need them to render gibs at a minimum of ___ (number) fps. _______ (plural noun) need them to handle ____ (number) hits a second, so they can survive _____ (number) simaltaneous DoS attacks! And don't forget about the ______ (plural noun), what would we do without quintupple anti-aliasing of Buzz Lightyear's helmet in Toy Story ___(number)!

    Okay, so mild exagerations aside, both sides have valid points. The bottom line is that yes, their are many uses for ultra fast processors, and yes, John Zaibatsu won't notice the difference when typing up word documents, something more revolutionary than a higher clock speed and higher transistor count will have to come into play to get things rolling once again.

    Why do we dally around with 50 mhz clock uppings? Because its a proven means of creating wealth for the high tech companies -- John Zaibatsu will go get that new processor regardless of whether he really needs it. Companies/research outside of the already established tech cash flow need to cause another revolution.

    Bring out my microprocessors measured in atoms instead of nanometers. I want a distributed system for myself, with a processor count that can't be measured with one digit of binary. Revolutionary system design -- don't bother with getting rid of the arcane scroll lock key or ISA slot, build a new system of input! Moore's law isn't a law, only an observation. Breaking it isn't impossible.

    Okay, got the futurist ramble out of the system.

    (Enter flames about how I've been reading too much Science Fiction and why we need a scroll lock key:)
  • The scroll sucks when scrolling through snything with alot of drop downs. In essense yo still need to move the pointer away from the fields (towards the edge), defeating the purpose of the wheel. I have had that bite me on many online forms where I fill it out and submit to see suddnley that my age range is 75-90 instead of 20-25 and my income is 100-150k instead of the pathetica amount it is and usually I live in come country like Zaire or Zimbabwe instead of the lousy old USofA. Fun huh?
  • The only reliable motherboard I've heard for Athlon chips is the recently released Asus line of Athlon MBs.

    A friend of mine even had core dumps in Linux from his Athlon 800 MHz, until he got the Asus MBoard.

    My decision, and I feel it was a wise one, was t oget a P3667 MHz Cu and Slot 1 board. It has reliability, it's cheaper than the very top end, and I know it can do everything I need it to do, in a production environment and in a gaming environment.

    I actually don't plan on upgrading for a while, though my computer supports up to 1.2 GHz.

    I'm not anti-Athlon, I'm anti-risk (having had a bad experience with my K6-300 having floating point problems). I know my Intel chip and Asus board won't cause me any worries, and I'm willing to pay a little more for that reassurance.
  • It seems to me that unlike other big corporate competitions (example: supermarket price wars), the speed war between Intel and AMD runs the risk of being bad news for consumers.

    As the two companies rush to get newer and faster models of their processors to market before the other, they run the risk of sloppiness.

    It's all well and good if AMD can release 900MHz+ Athlons and they work properlly, just as much as it's fresh 'n' funky if Intel can achieve the same with the PIII - there'll always be someone out there who'll buy them, be it to get that extra little kick in Q3A, or to process those SQL statements that little bit faster. However, if the price we have to pay for the extra speed is more than a few extra dollars [or pounds :)] - reduced reliability, it's probably not worth it.

    On the other hand, if the machines these processors are going to go in are gonna run Windoze, they'll probably be beaten to crashing by the OS anyway :)

  • Since AMD came out with the 750 Athlon, all the faster chips ship with cache divisors no higher than 2/5. I suspect that the 1GHz processors will ship with 1/3 cache divisors until they integrate the L2 cache onto the die with the Thunderbird processor.

    This is the one area where Intel seems to be outpacing AMD, the CuMine cache isn't crippled at higher clock speeds. From my own experience, my Athlon benchmarks higher at 750 with 1/2 cache than at 823 with 2/5 cache.

  • Although I use AMD at home, when I went to go find a Dual-Althon board I was surprised I could not find any. Do any of the AMD chips support SMP? If not AMD is going to have a hard time with the really high end business market.
  • I've been doing this computer thing for a shorter time, but I think I've still got a handle on this computing power thing. Right now, my computer is streaming music over the Internet. At the same time, I'm writing you this message. In the background I've got mathematica open because I'm a grad student and spent part of the night doing math. I've also got an open document that looks better than what most professional publishers could do a decade and a half ago. E-bay just told me I had won an auction. I IMed with some friends in CA (I'm in NY) as they were going to sleep. Yesterday I sent a friend a short movie, a joke movie, but a movie none-the-less. I live in the middle of nowhere, Ithaca NY, and have ordered off of E-bay. I don't use my CD player any more and have 200 CDs in a big binder gathering dust. I've played games with friends 3500 miles away. I've video conferenced with my brother. And I have a talking paperclip on my screen that yells at me when I don't it ctrl-s to save. (I kill him when he does that) Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that while incremental improvements in chip speeds don't have much of an impact. My computer system (probably worth about 2.5-3k) has changed the way I live my life. And the speed increases are part of it. I realize that a 1 GHz chip on a 133MHz bus has issues, but at the same time, I'm still wanting a faster computer. Maybe I'll be able to put a 3-D model of myself online. Maybe speech recognization will finally work. Maybe my design rule checklist for MEMS design will run in less than 3 hours. There's plenty of ways for a computer's speed to be used, and we're not even close yet. Back in the mid 80's (before my modem) I used my computer for games and word processing. Now it is central to my life.
  • If I could get a comment in here. Intel has been trying to leapfrog AMD in speed, but they have not been able to mass produce them. When the AMD 850 came out, I could buy one. I wasn't able to buy the Intel 800 for quite a while. Pricewatch has just barely started to list them. If AMD comes out with these new chips I believe it is because they are ready to produce in volume. Intel has shown that they will just get the chip out the door before they address production problems. If Intel continues to not meet volume demand, you will see AMD take more then their goal of 30% of the processor market.

    On a side note, in a Tom's hardware article that mentioned how Intel has higher margins it has to meet, thus they sell their chips for more. In order for Intel to not die they need to not lose their dominance they will have to fix some problems and then take lower margins. This will most likely result in a drop in Intel stock and I don't know if Intel execs are willing to do this. Before Intel sees the light and changes their ways, AMD may have stolen the show. I'm not saying Intel will go out of business, for I think that would probably be impossible, but they will have to change the way they do business. The question is will they change soon enough to stay the market leader.

    So Linus, what are we doing tonight?

  • The highest frequency of any digital system is determined, at the end, by how fast the transistors can switch on and off. A really cool thing will happen when asynchronous processors will come out. Asynchronous devices don't have clocked speeds, so the only limitation is the speed of the logic gates through which the signal must go. The problem with asynchronous devices is that they're a bitch to design, because you have race conditions to worry about and you don't know if you can accept the input and such ( since there is no clock cycle to tell you that )
  • Increasing clock speeds is all well and good, but without the extra gubbins in new chipsets to take advantage it's pretty much pissing in the wind.

    Athlons have moved the goalposts for processors slightly, but what we need is reliable fast memory, Fast interfaces and more development in storage devices (like the next stage of HDD's as they've pretty much not changed for longer than x86 chipsets... apart from more plates, higher density and faster spinning, where's decent optical storage as replacement, etc.)

    Most of this seems to be intercompany bravado and marketing without much in the way of gestalt system development.

    I for one would look more favourable on the company that doesn't push clock speeds but goes for partnerships with other technologies for holistic solutions.

  • Athlon motherboards and Slot1 or socket370 mobo's are TOTALLY different. Athlons use the EV1 bus protocol liscenced(sp?) from digital. Yes, physically, the slot 1 and slot a (athlon) connectors are the same, however, the chipsets are totally different.

  • tried a k7m asus board. had a HORRIBLE time getting my older legacy isa card to work with the BROKEN DMA in the k7m. board went back in less than a week.

    (I needed this special isa card since its the only supported digital audio (spdif) card for linux.)

    I'll try the tyan kx133 board next - hope I have better luck since I sure love the k7 chip, itself.


  • by Wakko Warner ( 324 ) on Friday March 03, 2000 @04:38AM (#1228847) Homepage Journal
    And that's pretty much it. But don't underestimate the power of mindshare. It'll be interesting to see what AMD's (or Gateway's, or any of AMD's big customers') commercials for a gigahertz CPU look like.

    Intel's mindshare with the public is slowly but surely eroding and the x86 CPU war is turning into a fairer fight. Me, personally, I'm just happy I can get a 700 MHz CPU for under $300 now.

    - A.P.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • by ebcdic ( 39948 ) on Friday March 03, 2000 @04:56AM (#1228848)
    Since Intel introduced Slot-1, motherboards for their processors have been proprietary. Athlons use Slot-A (there will be a Socket-A later this year).

    So you need a new motherboard.

  • by BigTed ( 78942 ) on Friday March 03, 2000 @04:39AM (#1228849)
    I for one like the competition to Intel's domination of the high-end processor market. In a relatively short space of time (since the Athlon release) wehave seen "fast" processor's come out at a rapid rate and at a quickly reducing price.
    And this leads me to a couple of questions...

    1) Assuming AMD can maintain their product releases to leapfrog Intel, I am wondering how long Moore's Law will last.

    2) Intel keep showcasing exceptionally fast processor's dipped in oil and outside of a working case - so will these start coming to market quicker than usual.
  • by BiggestPOS ( 139071 ) on Friday March 03, 2000 @04:48AM (#1228850) Homepage
    But where is my 2 terabyte harddrive with sub millisecond access times ? Where is my virutal reality interface with near infinite resolution? What about a network connection that is bottlenecked by my SYSTEM ? Give me these things, then I shall be happy ;) These increases in processor speed really don't mean much to me until we see some developments in interfaces, storage, etc. Nothing major has happened it a LONG time, its all just tweaking. I want my mind BLOWN.

  • by Erich ( 151 ) on Friday March 03, 2000 @04:50AM (#1228851) Homepage Journal
    is who is going to have major innovations.

    AMD is going to build ``normal'' x86 chips with special 64 bit instructions, while Intel is trying to push IA64... which hasn't been released in a commercial version, and which many people think won't be popular until 2003 or so. AMD has a brand new Athlon core to work with, but Intel is doing all they can to s t r e c h the PPro/PII/PIII core to faster speeds by increasing the length of the pipeline everywhere they can. Will Intel make a re-designed new core (I'm a big fan of calling the chip the Sexium if they do...)? Do they have to to compete with AMD?

    And then there's the issue of other people... will we finally see a board capable of running new PowerPC chips that doesn't come from Apple? Will the portability of Linux allow other chip makers to enter the playing field? Maybe the Digi... er, Compaq Alpha people will get someone to fab their ``old, slow'' 21164s for really cheap.

    Anyway, where is technology heading? Certainly low-power-consumption chips are a booming industry, microcontrollers are everywhere, but for the desktop, what will the landscape look like in 4 years?

  • by Smack ( 977 ) on Friday March 03, 2000 @05:07AM (#1228852) Homepage
    How many applications these days are really processor bound? Sure this'll speed up your SETI rate, but is that a good reason to buy a $500 processor? I just went from a 300 Mhz to a 466 Mhz chip. You'd think that would be a noticeable difference in the everyday user experience. Nope. Feels just about the same -- even on Win 2K. Now what would a 1 Ghz do for me?

    I know there are some people who can appreciate this. But it's getting to the point where most people have no reason to upgrade.
  • by ChrisRijk ( 1818 ) on Friday March 03, 2000 @04:51AM (#1228853)
    Three articles at The Register. Firstly, AMD Athlon stormed during Q1 says channel []. Then Intel to dribble out 1GHz Cumine this month []. Then try this Intel positions Celeron against Athlon []. (btw these articles are in latest-first order)

    Their take is basically that Intel can't handle how to deal with competition, and is kinda panicing.

    The Register is also suggesting that AMD might start fabbing Alpha's [].

  • It's been pretty much established at this point that $800 is roughly the maximum price that the market will bear for the top-of-the-line processor from a given manufacturer in the general computing market. This has the effect of driving down prices on the rest of the processor speeds in the family.

    A 1GHz CPU, by itself, is nearly useless for most purposes given the massive I/O bottlenecks we have to deal with. The fastest system buses out there are the CuMine 133 MHz FSB, and the Athlon/Alpha 200 MHz bus (that's really a 100 MHz bus). Memory is a huge constraining factor at these speeds, too, and the ATA-66 drives can just barely keep pace with those needs. When the FSB runs at 400 MHz, with RAM speeds to match, and everyone uses 66 MHz, 64-bit PCI and 4x AGP, then the rest of the system can keep pace. What a 1 GHz processor does in today's platforms is basically run benchmarks faster. There's not going to be a huge impact. To really get into equipment that supports that kind of I/O, you're talking about mainframes and super high-end workstations, not PC's anymore. And the costs rise accordingly.

    The impact will be in the downward price pressure across the board - 600 MHz processors will be under $200 soon. Being able to get a lot of bang for a lot less buck is more compelling, I think.

    And for the Beowulf trolls out there - for the money it'll cost for a single 1 GHz processor-based PC you'll be able to run a pair of 600's in a cluster, or buy a SMP board with a couple of 650 MHz CuMine's. Now that's cool!

    - -Josh Turiel
  • by stripes ( 3681 ) on Friday March 03, 2000 @05:44AM (#1228855) Homepage Journal
    First, how much faster can processors get? I'm not only talking about the x86 world, but all the other ones that are silicon-alluminum/copper based? Four years ago (or thereabouts), when I got my P100 speeds of 1Ghz were almost unthikable of.

    IBM is pretty sure 4Ghz is doable in the next two years by doing multiple independent clocks with async buffering between them. Slashdot ran something about that within the last month or so.

    I don't know how fast CPUs can really get, but clock speed isn't the only factor. Work done per cycle is also important. If you look at today's (desktop/workstation) CPUs they all can execute more then one instruction per cycle. Two is a minimum. Three is the sustained max for Intel/AMD. Some RISC CPUs can do 5 instructions (UltraSPARC) if they are just the right set. This rarely happens, so most of hte time your two/three/five banger is executing zero (waiting for main memory), or one (too many read-after-write hazards) instruction. Transmeta is trying to fix this by making the (emulated) CPU really smart. The Alpha is trying to fix this by executing instrctions from more then one process at the same time (i.e. an ADD and MUL from your MP3 player, a LOAD and FMUL for your Quake server, and a STORE and a CMP for the re-compile of your Linux kernel). Compaq's simulations say this is really the shit. In two years I guess we will be able to see if it is. (the idea isn't new, the Terra supercomputer does something similar, and barrel processors have been doing something similar for decades).

    As for 1Ghz being unthinkable four years ago, I assure you the design cycle for CPUs is long enough that the team that built the Athalon was almost certonally thinking of it. About eight years ago the Alpha archature manual was talking about it. Seven years I would have taken a bet that the Alpha would be the first "desktop" CPU to hit it. Apparently later this month I can be thankful nobody took me up on it. :-)

    Second, except for PR purposes, what is the need for such fast cpus? I mean right now there isn't one thing that I need to get done that my P2 300 cannot do it.

    I have a 200Mhz machine at work, and a 266Mhz at work. Both do nicely for a lot of tasks. I bought a new machine to ray trace on (you could give me a million 1Ghz machines and I could still use more CPU to raytrace on...well maybe not me, but a real artest I guess). Neither do well for modern games, which seem to be a big driver for fast desktop CPUs. My C++ compiler could use a faster CPU too, which is why I don't do compiles on my 200Mhz box at work.

    Not to mention that I still use the P100 every day almost. I agree, there are certain computing tasks that require a _lot_ of processing power, but is that demand so great that the Crays (soon to be Tera soon to be Cray again), or the other supercomputers cannot handle it?

    A fast desktop machine doesn't have the I/O of an oldish supercomputer. It does have a faster CPU. It's CPU is even competitave with modern supercomputers (sometimes it shares the CPU!). It's memory system and I/O is staggeringly far behind. Then again so is it's microscopic price tag.

    So a fast desktop is good for anything that can get away with less memory, slower memory, and slower I/O, and just pain can't afford a supercomputer.

    Since supercomputers are staggeringly expensave, I would guess lots of stuff "makes do" with desktop CPUs. Off the top of my head I would say:

    • The stuff listed above (ray trace, hungry compilers, games games games)
    • Non-ray trace digital movie special effects
    • CAD/CAM design of cars, cell phones, and dishwashers
    • Circuit design for new CPUs, MP3 players, and cellphones
    • Anyone who has to build or test or support the programs on this list

Some people carve careers, others chisel them.