As AMD's most successful desktop microprocessor ever, the Athlon has enjoyed an incredibly number of victories in the consumer market. Somewhat ironically, one of the Athlon's major strengths is in an area where it has not fared nearly as well - the enterprise market.

The Athlon's powerful execution units, very large L1 cache and short pipeline make it an excellent CPU for servers. The multiprocessor architecture of the Athlon MP including its point-to-point bus protocol also lends itself quite well to a high performance database or web serving environment.

Even before we were able to put our Athlon performance theories to the test, we took a risk and migrated our Pentium III Xeon web servers to single processor Thunderbird solutions. Approximately one year later, AMD released the 760MP chipset and truly unleashed the power of the Athlon CPU as a server solution.

Despite the Athlon MP's earth-shattering performance in web and database server applications, the CPU saw disappointing adoption by the market. None of the tier 1 OEMs touched AMD's first 2P (two processor) solution thus forcing the Austin based company to turn to much smaller manufacturers to push their new platform.

The Athlon's excellent performance in FPU-heavy scientific applications have given AMD more marketshare than even Intel in a number of niche distributed computing cluter environments. The scholarly and scientific community quickly realized that the amount of performance you can get out of a 1U 2P Athlon MP server easily eclipsed anything in the price range, thus becoming one of the few areas of success for the platform.

With corporate budgets being cut as a result of the current economy and IT departments feeling more comfortable with the Athlon MP platform now that it has been around for well over a year, more and more businesses feel comfortable considering AMD. All of the talk surrounding AMD's Hammer as a server solution has also brought AMD's current server line some positive press, as it portrays AMD as a capable server-CPU manufacturer.

And where there is a demand, supply is sure to follow; when we first looked at the Athlon MP, Appro was the only server manufacturer that was able to deliver a first-class 1U system based on the platform. Today, there are over 11 manufacturers that had solutions ready for AMD's launch of the Athlon MP 2200+ last month.

We've already looked at the 2200+ when it made its desktop debut over two months ago, and with no more than a 66MHz increase in clock speed it didn't make sense for us to waste time benchmarking the new processor. Instead, we looked up some of the manufacturers of Athlon MP server solutions and decided to assemble a little roundup of their MP 2200+ offerings.

Currently all our web servers are Athlon MP based and we're migrating all of our database servers to AMD's platform as well, so as far as we're concerned the Athlon MP has proved its performance and reliability to us in a mission-critical server environment. The only question that remains is which manufacturer builds the best Athlon MP server, and that's exactly what we're here today to answer.

Athlon MP 2200+
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