IntroductionAMD Athlon XP-M Barton 2500+
Our attention has been fixated on the Athlon 64 range of CPUs recently. It's easy to see why. Superlative performance at stock speeds, an integrated heatspreader to more or less eliminate expensive core crushing, and cool running are just three of their attributes. We've not even touched on the probable 64-bit performance yet. There's always a price to pay for such technology. For the Athlon 64 Clawhammer line that price starts at £170. They're good, they're also priced at levels that ensure we won't be seeing them in the £300 - £500 PC market shortly.
Seemingly forgotten by the reviewing community at large are the older Athlon XP-series of CPUs. Athlon 64 processors have had the knock-on effect of reducing K7 prices across the board. It's now possible to pick up a decent S462 motherboard and processor and still have change from £100. There's value for you.
The Barton range is multi-purpose in nature. There's a number of desktop models at attractive prices and a few that have been morphed into notebook processors. The Barton is a cheap CPU that's more than capable of matching a Celeron's performance. Gearing up a processor for laptop duties often involves a slight rethink on the manufacturer's part, especially as battery life is of paramount concern. The mobile Barton XP2500+, for example, defaults to a meagre 1.45v, down from the standard 1.65v for the desktop model, yet it runs at the same speed. Can you see guess what we're thinking?. These mobile CPUs, harnessed in a desktop environment, could well become the next jewel in the budget enthusiast's crown.