Original Link: http://www.anandtech.com/show/972



Today is AMD's big day; it is the third year anniversary of the Athlon processor and to celebrate it, AMD is giving the Athlon XP some much needed attention.

AMD had been losing their grip on the performance crown to the point where the Athlon XP was no longer a faster performer than the fastest Pentium 4, but it was still a better value. The value proposition had been AMD's game during the days of the K5 and the K6, but just being a good value wasn't enough for the Athlon - especially not on its birthday.

Thus AMD took their very small Thoroughbred core and did what was necessary to be able to release two new model numbers - the Athlon XP 2400+ and XP 2600+. This launch was not supposed to happen for a while, but with Intel's Pentium 4 2.80GHz due in a matter of days AMD felt it was necessary to one-up the giant.

In doing so, AMD actually mimicked Intel's own actions a couple years ago. Back when the original Athlon was the first to hit 1GHz, Intel pulled in the launch of their 1GHz Pentium III to remain publicly competitive. Intel did this despite the fact that their 1GHz CPUs had not entered mass production and only a handful of samples were available, shipping to OEMs and the press of course. Intel became known for perfecting the "paper-launch" with the Pentium III, in response to overwhelming performance from AMD's Athlon.

Perhaps with a similar goal in mind - to steal some of Intel's thunder - AMD is "releasing" their 2400+ and 2600+ CPUs well before they hit mass production. The CPUs are sampling now but retail availability isn't expected until September with volume shipments occurring sometime between now and then.

With the logistics of AMD's launch aside, they have done some very interesting things in order to improve the competitiveness of the Athlon XP with these two new parts.



A Modified Rating System

Many recognized a basic flaw with AMD's Athlon XP modeling system in that the model numbers increased at a quicker rate than the actual clock speeds of the chips did. For every 66MHz increase in clock speed, there was a 100 point increase in model number. Based on the old method, an Athlon XP 2400+ would be clocked at 1.93GHz and an Athlon XP 2600+ would weigh in at 2.06GHz; as you can guess, this isn't the case with these two CPUs.

The Athlon XP 2600+ (left) comes clocked at 2.13GHz, while the Athlon XP 2400+ (right) runs at an even 2.0GHz. You'll notice that the model numbers are shifted by 66MHz, presumably to compensate for the flaw we mentioned above.

AMD Athlon XP Model Numbers
CPU Name
Clock Speed
Athlon XP 2600+
2.13GHz
Athlon XP 2400+
2.00GHz
Athlon XP 2200+
1.80GHz
Athlon XP 2100+
1.73GHz
Athlon XP 2000+
1.67GHz
Athlon XP 1900+
1.60GHz
Athlon XP 1800+
1.53GHz
Athlon XP 1700+
1.47GHz
Athlon XP 1600+
1.40GHz
Athlon XP 1500+
1.33GHz


A Modified Core

As we discovered when we reviewed the first 0.13-micron Thoroughbred based Athlon XP, there didn't seem to be much headroom in the process. Overclocking the XP 2200+ was pretty much a lost cause, and we attributed this to AMD's 0.13-micron process.

It turns out that there were limitations with the Thoroughbred core and it order to reach speeds as high as and beyond 2.13GHz AMD had to do a little fine tuning with the Thoroughbred core.

AMD added another metal layer to the 0.13-micron Thoroughbred core, giving the chip a total of 9 metal layers. The purpose behind adding an additional metal layer is to normally deal with increased transistor counts and although there's a slight increase in the number of transistors with this new core, that wasn't AMD's purpose behind adding a 9th metal layer.

The addition of the 9th metal layer was made from a purely routing standpoint; to put it simply, one limitation of increasing clock speed is the physical distance between blocks on the CPU's die. Adding another metal layer gives you additional room to work with optimizing electrical paths within the processor so that those physical distances don't limit the clock speed of the CPU.

The biggest downside to adding additional metal layers to a process is of course increased manufacturing complexity and thus increased manufacturing costs. To give you an idea of where the competition is at, the current Northwood core features 6 metal layers and it won't be until the release of the 90nm Prescott chip next year that Intel moves to a 7 layer design. To put it plainly - 9 metal layers is a lot. Luckily the Thoroughbred die is small enough that offsetting the extra costs introduced by the additional metal layer should be manageable, but with a design already at 9 metal layers it will be interesting to see where the Athlon XP tops out at. The Pentium 4 can get away with using fewer layers because of its longer pipeline; remember that some of the stages in the Pentium 4 pipeline are there for the sole purpose of moving data across the chip.

We also mentioned that the transistor count of these new Thoroughbred cores (dubbed Revision B) has increased slightly from the now old Revision A cores; these additional transistors go to implementing additional decoupling capacitors that help reduce EMI.

Thoroughbred vs. Palomino vs. Intel's Northwood
Code Name
Palomino
Thoroughbred-A
Thoroughbred-B
Northwood
Manufacturing Process
0.18-micron
0.13-micron
0.13-micron
0.13-micron
Die Size
128 mm^2
80 mm^2
84 mm^2
131 mm^2
Metal Layers
7
8
9
6
Transistor Count
37.5 Million
37.2 Million
37.6 Million
55 Million
Voltage
1.750V
1.50V - 1.65V
1.65V
1.50V
Clock Speeds
1.2 - 1.73GHz
1.47 - 1.8GHz
2.0 - 2.13GHz+
1.6 - 2.80GHz+

 

The results of the additional metal layer (and its subsequent electrical path optimizations) and the new decoupling capacitors are immediately evident; the Thoroughbred is now easily able to run at 2.33 - 2.40GHz with relatively little effort. All Thoroughbred cores will begin being manufactured to the new Revision B specifications, unfortunately there's no way of telling which core you're getting without looking at the CPUID string reported by the processor. Obviously if you purchase an Athlon XP 2600+ or 2400+ (or faster, once they're released) you're getting the new core, but if you buy slower Thoroughbred cores there's no way of knowing until you can test the CPU yourself.

Although the actual CPUIDs that correspond to the new Revision B core are not listed on AMD's website yet, you can expect them to appear in an update to the Athlon XP datasheets here.

The modifications to the Thoroughbred core do require BIOS support but rest assured that any motherboard that currently supports the Thoroughbred processors will also support the Revision B CPUs.



No 333MHz FSB?

Rumors have been running rampant about the Athlon XP eventually moving to a 166MHz DDR (effectively 333MHz) FSB. The 25% increase over the current 266MHz FSB will provide a relatively non-existent performance improvement on today's Athlon XP, but as clock speeds increase it may become necessary.

The official word from AMD is that they are considering the move to a 333MHz FSB, but if you ask any of their chipset partners you will hear a slightly different story. The story they're telling is that the 333MHz FSB is definitely going to happen this year, possibly with the next launch of Athlon XP processors in the coming months.

The lack of 333MHz FSB support on the 2600+ and 2400+ parts isn't too disappointing because, as we mentioned before, there is not much performance to be gained by moving to a faster FSB at these clock speeds; the Athlon XP simply isn't starved by its 266MHz FSB, but as speeds do increase a faster FSB may become necessary.

Luckily DDR333 support is already present in all of today's Socket-A motherboards, so a move to a 333MHz FSB would still allow for a synchronous FSB/memory bus combination.

The Test

Windows XP Professional Test Bed
Hardware Configuration
CPU
AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)
AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)
AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)
AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)
AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)
AMD Athlon XP 1800+ (1.53GHz)
Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz
Intel Pentium 4 2.40B GHz
Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz
Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz
Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz
Intel Pentium 4 2.0A GHz
Motherboard
EPoX 8K3A+ - VIA KT333 Chipset
Intel D850EMV2 - Intel 850E Chipset
RAM
1 x 256MB DDR333 CAS2 Corsair XMS3000 DIMM
2 x 128MB PC800 Samsung RIMMs
Sound
None
Hard Drive
80GB Western Digital Special Edition 8MB Cache ATA/100 HDD
Video Cards (Drivers)

NVIDIA GeForce4 Ti 4600 (30.82)



Content Creation Performance

You may have noticed that SYSMark 2002 is absent from our performance comparison in this review; we're currently investigating some issues with the benchmark that we will be reporting on publicly shortly. In the meantime, we have provided Content Creation Winstone 2002 to fill the void.

Content Creation Performance - CC Winstone 2002
Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

42.3

41.1

39.7

39.5

38.6

37.5

37.3

35.4

35.4

34.6

33.7

|
0
|
8
|
17
|
25
|
34
|
42
|
51

In most content creation applications, the Pentium 4 has been able to outpace the Athlon XP significantly; we see the trend continue here with the Pentium 4 2.53GHz running around 10% faster than the XP 2600+.



Media Encoding Performance

What was once reserved for "professional" use only has now become a task for many home PCs - media encoding. Today's media encoding requirements are more demanding than ever and are still some of the most intensive procedures you can run on your PC.

We'll start off with a "quick" conversion of a DVD rip (more specifically, Chapter 40 from the Star Wars Episode I DVD) to a DiVX MPEG-4 file. We used the latest DiVX codec (5.02) in conjunction with Xmpeg 4.5 to perform the encoding.

We set the encoding speed to Fastest, disabled audio processing and left all of the remaining settings on their defaults. We recorded the last frame rate given during the encoding process as the progress bar hit 100%.

MPEG-4 Encoding Performance - Xmpeg 4.5/DiVX 5.02
Conversion Frame Rate (higher is better)
Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

71.5

68.2

65.0

64.3

61.4

60.4

58.7

56.8

56.6

54.2

53.2

|
0
|
14
|
29
|
43
|
57
|
72
|
86

MPEG-4 encoding has always been a very memory bus intensive task in that it greatly benefits from high bandwidth memory subsystems, which is one of the reasons why the Pentium 4 does so well here. It is worth pointing out that the move to a 533MHz FSB only gives the Pentium 4 around a 6% performance improvement.

The Athlon XP 2600+ is not able to keep up with the Pentium 4 here, other than its close proximity to the 2.40GHz part.

MP3 audio encoding is another great CPU test, although this sort of an application is much less platform intensive than the MPEG-4 test from above. Raw computational power is mostly stressed in the following MP3 encoding test; we encoded a 170MB wav file into a VBR (Variable Bit Rate) MP3 using the highest quality settings (-V 0) allowed by the LAME 3.91 MP3 encoder.

MP3 Encoding Performance - LAME 3.91
Time in Seconds to Encode 170MB .wav File
AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

90

95

96

101

101

106

106

110

110

114

121

|
0
|
24
|
48
|
73
|
97
|
121
|
145

When the high-bandwidth Pentium 4 platform isn't of much use, the Athlon XP can pull slightly ahead of its bigger competitor. The new 2600+ is able to outpace by Pentium 4 2.53GHz by about 5% here. Note that the 2400+ is also very competitive with the Pentium 4 2.4B, outperforming it by around 5% as well.



3D Rendering Performance - 3ds max 5

When the Athlon was first released 3 years ago, 3D Studio MAX was a strongpoint of its performance. The Athlon's raw FPU performance was right up 3dsmax's ally and thus it put Intel's competing solutions (at the time, the Pentium III) to shame. Things have changed a bit, the latest version of 3ds max (R5) does have some Pentium 4 optimizations that keep things quite competitive between the Athlon XP and the Pentium 4.

For our 3ds max 5 benchmarks we chose two benchmark scenes that ship with the product - SinglePipe2.max and Underwater_Environment_Finished.max.

3D Rendering Performance - 3ds max 5
SinglePipe2.max - Render Time in Seconds (lower is better)
AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

231

241

246

250

250

265

272

274

283

295

298

|
0
|
60
|
119
|
179
|
238
|
298
|
358

The Athlon XP 2600+ takes the gold here with a slight lead over the 2.53GHz Pentium 4, which is followed by a third place XP 2400+.

3D Rendering Performance - 3ds max 5
Underwater_Environment_Finished.max - Render Time in Seconds (lower is better)
AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

310

329

344

362

365

379

383

393

417

456

499

|
0
|
100
|
200
|
299
|
399
|
499
|
599

Both new AMD chips rise to the top here, this time by a significant margin over the competition. The XP 2600+ is almost 10% faster than the Pentium 4 2.53GHz.

3D Rendering Performance - Maya 4.0.1
Rendertest.ma - Render Time in Seconds (lower is better)
AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

75

79

85

88

91

91

94

97

99

104

113

|
0
|
23
|
45
|
68
|
90
|
113
|
136

Under Maya the Athlon XP continues to do very well.



3D Rendering Performance using SSE2

While 3ds max 5 is SSE2 optimized, the level of optimization is nowhere near what NewTek reported with Lightwave upon releasing version 7.0b. The performance improvements offered by the new SSE2 optimized version were all above 20% using NewTek's supplied benchmarking scenes.

We chose two benchmarks to use, the least SSE2 optimized one and another that is more optimized just to get an idea of the potential that lies for Pentium 4 users running heavily optimized applications:

3D Rendering Performance - Lightwave 7.5
Raytrace Benchmark - Render Time in Seconds (lower is better)
Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

120.5

126.2

126.2

133.0

136.6

139.9

148.7

149.4

164.3

170.3

177.1

|
0
|
35
|
71
|
106
|
142
|
177
|
213

Even the XP 2600+ is defeated by the 2.2GHz Pentium 4 here, SSE2 optimizations can help the Pentium 4's performance significantly.

3D Rendering Performance - Lightwave 7.5
Radiosity Reflective Things Benchmark - Render Time in Seconds (lower is better)
Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

58.2

61.2

61.2

64.6

66.4

72.0

94.4

100.2

110.6

114.9

119.2

|
0
|
24
|
48
|
72
|
95
|
119
|
143

With heavy optimizations, even a 2GHz Pentium 4 can outperform the new 2600+.



Gaming Performance - Unreal Tournament 2003

We introduced the latest Unreal Tournament 2003 benchmark in our GPU Shootout article a few weeks back and we're continuing to use it as an example of a next-generation game test.

We benchmarked under two levels - DM-Antalus (a very GPU bound benchmark) and DM-Asbestos (a very CPU bound benchmark) to give you an idea of the two extremes you'll encounter under Unreal Tournament 2003.

Gaming Performance - Unreal Tournament 2003
DM-Antalus - Frames per Second (higher is better)
AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

105.0

104.9

104.8

104.8

104.7

104.7

102.2

102.1

102.1

101.8

101.1

|
0
|
21
|
42
|
63
|
84
|
105
|
126

When the GPU is the limiting factor, as long as you have a fast enough CPU you'll be just fine; as you can see from the chart above, the performance differences are negligible.

Gaming Performance - Unreal Tournament 2003
DM-Asbestos - Frames per Second (higher is better)
Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

174.4

174.1

173.0

170.5

170.1

168.8

163.6

163.5

163.1

162.4

155.3

|
0
|
35
|
70
|
105
|
140
|
174
|
209

In a more CPU bound test, the performance spread is much more interesting. The XP 2600+ and XP 2400+ are effectively as fast as the top two Intel performers, definitely meeting AMD's goals.



Gaming Performance (continued)

Jedi Knight 2 is another great gaming benchmark for CPUs as it is based on the popular Quake III engine but is demanding enough that it doesn't break the 300fps barrier at every chance it gets.

We used the 1.03 patch which still retained the game's built in demo (JK2FFA) and ran the test at high detail settings with anisotropic filtering disabled.

Gaming Performance - Jedi Knight 2 1.03
JK2FFA - Frames per Second (higher is better)
Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

149.4

144.9

144.6

140.6

140.4

135.5

131.9

131.8

129.0

129.0

121.3

|
0
|
30
|
60
|
90
|
120
|
149
|
179

The Pentium 4 2.53GHz is just over 3% faster than the Athlon XP 2600+, a negligble amount; the same goes for the Pentium 4 2.4B and the Athlon XP 2400+.

Gaming Performance - Serious Sam 2
Little Trouble - Frames per Second (higher is better)
AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

113.9

113.8

112.3

112.1

111.9

111.7

111.3

110.3

108.7

106.7

103.4

|
0
|
23
|
46
|
68
|
91
|
114
|
137

The Athlon XP has always done very well in Serious Sam, but the performance spread above the Pentium 4 2.26GHz isn't great enough to start nitpicking; these CPUs mostly perform the same here.

Gaming Performance - Comanche 4
Benchmark - Frames per Second (higher is better)
Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

51.7

50.0

48.3

48.2

47.5

46.4

44.6

43.6

42.6

41.4

41.4

|
0
|
10
|
21
|
31
|
41
|
52
|
62

Things return to normal under Comanche 4, with the Pentium 4 2.53GHz weighing in around 7% faster than the Athlon XP 2600+. The Pentium 4 2.4B is only around 4% faster than the Athlon XP 2400+.



High End Workstation Performance - SPEC Viewperf 7.0

The latest version of SPEC Viewperf proves to be an excellent stress test for memory bandwidth and overall platform performance as you're about to see. The benchmarks included version 7 of the benchmark suite are:

3ds max (3dsmax-01)
Unigraphics (ugs-01)
Pro/Engineer (proe-01)
DesignReview (drv-08)
Data Explorer (dx-07)
Lightscape (light-05)

For more information on the tests run visit SPEC's page on the new Viewperf benchmark.

We're quite skeptical of the viewperf results not only because they don't agree with any of our other numbers from this review but mainly because the 3ds max test does not agree with our real-world 3ds max tests from earlier in this review. We've included the numbers anyways for your own use and interpretation:

High End Workstation Performance - SPEC viewperf 7.0
3dsmax-01 - Frames per Second (higher is better)
AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

8.513

8.473

8.423

8.414

8.392

8.389

8.361

8.345

7.929

7.878

7.765

|
0
|
2
|
3
|
5
|
7
|
9
|
10

High End Workstation Performance - SPEC viewperf 7.0
drv-08 - Frames per Second (higher is better)
AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

41.70

41.56

40.68

40.50

40.09

39.35

38.63

38.57

37.14

36.36

34.97

|
0
|
8
|
17
|
25
|
33
|
42
|
5

High End Workstation Performance - SPEC viewperf 7.0
dx-07 - Frames per Second (higher is better)
AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

47.80

47.31

46.42

45.86

45.27

28.42

27.60

27.03

24.41

24.34

23.32

|
0
|
10
|
19
|
29
|
38
|
48
|
57

High End Workstation Performance - SPEC viewperf 7.0
light-05 - Frames per Second (higher is better)
AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

12.02

11.71

10.98

10.95

10.63

10.60

10.42

10.23

10.14

9.592

8.985

|
0
|
2
|
5
|
7
|
10
|
12
|
14



High End Workstation Performance (Continued)

High End Workstation Performance - SPEC viewperf 7.0
proe-01 - Frames per Second (higher is better)
AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

9.797

9.716

9.557

9.504

9.421

8.606

8.432

8.310

8.143

7.892

7.564

|
0
|
2
|
4
|
6
|
8
|
10
|
1

High End Workstation Performance - SPEC viewperf 7.0
ugs-01 - Frames per Second (higher is better)
AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.13GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2400+ (2.00GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ (1.80GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2100+ (1.73GHz)

AMD Athlon XP 2000+ (1.67GHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.53GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.4BGHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.26GHz

Intel Pentium 4 2.40GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.20GHz (400MHz)

Intel Pentium 4 2.0AGHz (400MHz)

5.051

5.037

5.008

4.993

4.976

3.691

3.648

3.594

3.525

3.460

3.379

|
0
|
1
|
2
|
3
|
4
|
5
|
6

Final Words

With the Thoroughbred Revision B core AMD has given new life to the Athlon XP, and it couldn't have come at a better time. The Athlon XP 2600+, for the most part, offers performance competitive with the Pentium 4 2.53GHz; the same can be said about the Athlon XP 2400+ and the Pentium 4 2.4B. There's no clear performance advantage in either case for the vast majority of applications, but where AMD does hold the advantage is in price. The Athlon XP 2600+ and 2400+, once available, will retail for significantly less than their equivalently performing Intel counterparts.

While we don't approve of AMD pushing for essentially a paper-launch of these faster Thoroughbred parts, the CPUs are a welcome addition to the Athlon XP line. With the Pentium 4 still on track to hit 3GHz by the end of this year, and with a Q1-03 introduction of Hammer being very likely, it may be up to the Athlon XP to close the year out for AMD.

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