Other Technology Markets and AMD’s Plans

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AMD is not the first to bring up the controversy of actual processor performance versus the frequency of the processor. In many other technology markets around the world, this kind of performance gauging has been the norm for many years.

The Alpha processor, now a part of Compaq, is currently topped out at 1001 MHz and still widely considered to be one of the best performing processors in the server market. The IBM RS/6000 CPU runs at 450 MHz, which would seem ancient in current frequency-driven markets, yet when looking at the IPC of the RS/6000, its level of performance is quite high. HP has their PA8600 “Super Dome” processors that are running at 550 MHz today and used in many applications in both businesses and in the military for the optimal performance. Even Intel’s own Itanium processor, supposedly their top-of-line server piece is currently limited to 800 MHz, yet they are not here claiming that the Itanium is slow and incompetent because of that low frequency.

A completely different market in the technology world with a similar outlook on the performance is in PDAs. I have yet to know a single purchaser of a PDA who specified that their Palm or Handspring have the fastest internal processor clock speed. What they are gauged on though, is their actual performance in applications and their features.

All of this information provided basically implies that customers can no longer rely on MHz as the sole indicator for real application performance for different processors. Instead, the user needs a more accurate way to measure the real software performance of a product.

How is AMD planning to do this? AMD is starting and initiating the development of new and fully encompassing measure of processor performance that customers and end-users can trust. Their goal is to not just include the AMD line of CPUs, but all x86 architecture processor in this new, industry-developed standard, including Cyrix and Intel. AMD will also be working with the lead industry players in the development of this standard including OEMs, channels, software developers and their many infrastructure partners.

This completely new standard is set to roll out sometime in 2002. Until then, AMD is starting the initiative by introducing a bridge metric this month, with the launch of their Athlon XP processor. AMD’s end plans include merging their newly launched bridge metric with the industry standard that will be developed and released in 2002.

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