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600MHz Athlon stomps PIII in ‘preview’ tests

FiringSquad's results indicate AMD could have a world-beater on its hands

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Hardware news and reviews site FiringSquad has produced a highly detailed "preview" of AMD's 600MHz Athlon, with benchmarks attached. In most of these it excels, and FiringSquad describes it as "an amazing product of engineering. By scaling results, it's clear that in most cases the Athlon is a faster processor than the Pentium III, and it will easily earn its place in the annals of PC history." The site used a setup based on a 600Mhz Rev C Athlon, and threw a bunch of tests at it. It was substantially ahead of a 560MHz P3 in Quake tests (FiringSquad comments that its calling "looks to be truly one of gaming"), and although the two CPUs were pretty even on AGP tests, this appears to be a sign of AMD finally catching up with Intel here: "We can see AMD finally has a good AGP implementation," and Athlon's high-bandwidth architecture could allow it to establish a clear lead in the future. Winstone and Threadbench give Athlon slight leads, while those in integer tests are more substantial. FiringSquad's overall conclusion is that with Athlon AMD at last has a credible flagship platform it can build on. With the introduction of copper and increases in clock speed up to 1,000MHz in the foreseeable future, the company stands a chance of getting out of having to challenge Intel on price alone. The big question is how successful AMD is going to be in overcoming its history of product delays and poor supply. FiringSquad reckons it now has the technology to lead, but that it could still drop the ball. That basically means AMD has to get its ramp going fast enough to avoid getting caught out by a combination of the 600MHz P3 and further blizzards of Intel price cuts. Do you feel lucky, Jerry? ®

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