On the 21st of August I took a look at Athlon XP2600+. A 266MHz front side bus processor (133MHz DDR bus, 16x multiplier), we found it to be equivalent of a 2.53GHz Pentium 4. We also found that as AMD stuck to the 266MHz bus and ramped up the multiplier for this new processor, the front side bus was maybe holding the CPU back performance wise, especially since these new Thoroughbred 'B' processors overclocked extremely well.
On the 26th of August, Tarinder took a look at Intels 2.8Ghz Pentium 4 and since the 2.53GHz was the XP2600+'s nearest rival, 5 days later Intel took back the performance crown without even really trying.
So with the 2.8 giving Intel the fastest consumer x86 processor on the market and everyone acknowledging that AMD needed to ramp up the front side bus, we've been waiting for them to reply with something new.
Not long after XP2600+ was released, it became clear that there would be some 333MHz bus processors from AMD and everyone got excited again. As you know when a CPU gets a front side bus increase, there's a new round of supporting chipsets. On the Intel side of things they had an accompanying set of chipsets for the 533Mhz bus P4's so boards were ready and waiting for the CPU's when they were launched.
The same thing had to happen with AMD. With AMD not producing a chipset for these new processors, they have had to wait for their chipset partners to come up with supporting products. Now it's not 100% clear who has been waiting for who but it's no coincidence that NVIDIA's nForce2 is also announced today and fully supports these new processors.
But "what new processors?" I hear you cry (actually, it's common knowledge what they are by now but humour me). XP2700+ and XP2800+ are the new CPU's, running at 2.17GHz (166 x 13) and 2.25GHz (166 x 13.5) respectively.
Based on the same Throughbred 'B' Athlon XP core revision as XP2600+ (and XP2400+), these new processors share the same basic spec with a front side bus increase. That means 0.13 micron copper process out of Fab30 in Dresden in Germany, 37.6 million transistors in a 84mm² die and 1.65V operating voltage. With the same L1 and L2 cache layout as XP2600+, all that's changed is the front side bus. And as we've seen, that's definitely not a bad thing.
XP2600 was a break from the norm as far as our press samples of AMD processors went. Housed in an EPoX motherboard and supplied complete with memory modules and natty heatsink it was a bit different from just getting a CPU in a box. The test processor we recieved this time around, XP2700+, goes one step further. Take a peek.