Athlon roadmap?
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Dear CPU Scorekeeper

I have heard a lot about the new Athlons w/ full speed cache and whatnot, the Thunderbird. I just have enough money to get a kickass system, and I decided to go with Athlon. I have a P3 600MHz right now, so I am waiting to jump on the 1GHz milestone w/ full-speed cache since this would probably increase the performance in the long run.

I am wondering when these full speed cache procs are going to be released?? I am getting so excited about building my own system that I can't wait any longer. I have heard they were coming out this summer and I have heard at the end of the year?

- - John, February 2000

See the questionCPU Scorekeeper Responds

As AMD cautions on their web site:
Forward-looking statements...include the risk that computer manufacturers...may not release systems incorporating the...AMD Athlon processor on schedule or at all, that demand for the AMD Athlon processor will not be strong or remain at current levels, and that AMD will not be able to produce the processor in the volume and speed grades required by customers using the 0.18 micron process technology on a timely basis.

This being said, AMD's plans for the Athlon processor are, based on the latest information and expectations we have gathered, something like the following:

Processor Speed
(MHz)
Bus
(MHz)
L2 Cache Availability
Athlon Professional (K7) 850 200 512kB
(0.4x, off-die)
Now
Athlon Professional (K7) 1000 200 512kB
(0.4x, off-die)
Now
Athlon Select (Spitfire)
Athlon's economy version
600 200 512kB
(0.4x, off-die)
Sometime in
June 2000
Athlon Ultra (Thunderbird) 1000 266 256kB
(Full-speed, on-die)
Not likely until
September 2000

AMD's recent demonstration of a K7 running at 1GHz suggests that you will not have to wait long for a 1GHz Athlon in its current configuration. How soon it is available will depend mainly on how quickly Intel can keep pace with their Pentium-III's.

However, if you are waiting for the Thunderbird with its full-speed L2 cache, it may well be the end of the year before it arrives--especially if the K7 remains stable and successful at 1GHz without an on-die cache.

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