The Active Network
ActiveWin: Reviews Active Network | New Reviews | Old Reviews | Interviews |Mailing List | Forums 
 

Amazon.com

  *  


Product: Athlon XP 2200+
Company: AMD
Website: http://www.amd.com
Estimated Street Price:
$249.00
Review By: Julien Jay

AMD Athlon XP 2200+ Overview

Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: CPU Overview & Overclocking
3: Synthetic Benchmarks

4: Games Benchmarks
5: Applications Benchmarks
6:
Conclusion

With the recent extreme frequency increase Pentium 4 processors have shown, AMD had to reply to Intel by unveiling processors capable of matching the latest Pentium 4 processors. To do so, AMD was forced to revamp their CPU architecture since the ‘old’ Palomino Athlon core, engraved in 0,18µ, wasn’t really able to support frequencies higher than 1.73 GHz (AMD Athlon XP 2100+).  

That’s why AMD’s engineers have designed a brand new CPU core, known as Thoroughbred, that is engraved in 0,13µ, a real premiere for AMD processors. The main advantage of this new engraving process is, in theory, the fact the CPU will emit less heat than before thus allowing AMD to crank up frequencies in the future while power users will be able to overclock their processors in all peace of mind. This is true for low range Athlon XP processors with smaller clock frequencies: with the Thoroughbred core an Athlon XP 1800+ will produce 20% less heat than an Athlon XP 1800+ using the Palomino core. Unfortunately since the Athlon XP 2200+ requires 1.65 Volts of power, the heat generated is still quite considerable (around 52° C [that is to say 125.60 fahrenheit] at full charge) putting the processor in a hot spot. To have an idea the Athlon XP 2200+ T-Bred heat dissipation is only 4.1 Watts less than the Athlon XP 2100+ Palomino. The Athlon XP 2200+ includes a built-in thermal diode so software can accurately monitor the temperature of the CPU.


AMD Thorougbred Die

In reality, the main advantage of the 0,13µ technology lies somewhere else: using this manufacturing process, the processor’ die size is reduced from 128 to 80mm˛ thus AMD could produce more CPUs per 200mm wafer (~322 against 201 previously) which implies a noticeable cost reduction both for AMD and the end user. The reduced size of the processor’s die generates a casualty: being 40% smaller the die emits more heat that cannot be dissipated very well since the surface in contact with the heatsink is also smaller. That’s why AMD now only recommends high end CPU cooler with a copper plate that makes contact with the surface of the CPU. 


AMD Athlon XP 2200+ CPU

Despite its name, the AMD Athlon XP 2200+ runs in reality at 1.8 GHz. Yes AMD has still not jumped over the 2.0 GHz barrier… The name of the Athlon XP 2200+ is the fruit of the Performance Rating, a marketing trick that consists of naming the processor on the performance it equals rather than its real frequency. Personally I think this naming convention will most likely swindle consumers by letting them think the AMD Athlon XP 2200+ is clocked at 2.2GHz while it’s not the case.  

Apart from the finer engraving process and the frequency increase; this Athlon ‘T-bred’ built on the K7 architecture has nothing new in terms of 32-bit instructions and still hosts 37.5 million transistors. The AMD Athlon XP Thoroughbred features a 266 MHz front side bus which compares to the Pentium 4 533 MHz front side bus. This 266 MHz only front side bus is kind of disappointing when you consider a 333 MHz front side bus would have fully exploited the recent DDR333 memory.

Physically the processor still uses the old good Socket A and doesn’t differ from previous Athlon XP except for the presence of more bridges. The core also looks rectangular while it was looking more like a square before. The Socket A architecture means you’ll be able to use the processor with every Athlon XP Slot A compatible motherboard (most motherboards will require a BIOS update).

CPU Architecture

   The Athlon XP 2200+ comes with 128 KB of L1 cache memory and 256 KB of full speed L2 cache memory. The L1 Data translation look aside buffer (TLB) can contain 40 entries that can be written speculatively. The regrettable thing is that the Athlon XP ‘Thoroughbred’ doesn’t offer as much cache memory as its equivalent the Pentium 4 ‘Northwood’ which comes with 512 KB of embedded cache memory. The x86 compliant architecture of the Athlon XP 2200+ includes a full implementation of Intel SSE instructions set. AMD markets this feature as ‘3D now! Professional’. It enables SSE compatible applications to recognize the Athlon XP as a SSE-capable processor which will provide a significant performance boost.

Overclocking

   This is probably the most surprising thing for an AMD processor, but the Athlon XP 2200+ isn’t really overclockable at least in major proportions. Natively the CPU uses a 13.5 clock multiplier (13.5*133=1800 MHz). During our extensive testing we weren’t able to safely push the CPU over 1890 MHz (with 13.5*140) which represents a 5% only overclocking!


AMD Athlon XP 2200+ 0.13µ

« Introduction Synthetic Benchmarks »

 

  *  
  *   *