Athlon XP Model Numbering System

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Starting with the Athlon XP processor launch, AMD will be introducing their new model numbering system as a bridge to their plans for a unified number system in 2002.

The new AMD Athlon processors will be sold on the basis of a relative performance scale. These models numbers will pertain and convey a performance level relative to other AMD processors. As of now, the Athlon XP processor model numbering will be based on the Thunderbird core Athlons. Below you will see the chart of AMD Model numbers and their actual operating frequencies.

The new Athlon XP 1800+ processor will actually be running at a speed of 1.53 GHz, not 1.8 GHz as the name might suggest. Similarly, the 1700+ runs at 1.47 GHz, the 1600+ runs at 1.4 GHz and the 1500+ operates at 1.33 GHz. AMD’s new scale compares their new processor to their Thunderbird. This means that the Athlon XP 1800+, which runs at a clock speed of 1.53 GHz, performs nearly the same as an original Thunderbird core Athlon processor would at 1.8 GHz. Along the same lines the Athlon XP 1700+ running at 1.47 GHz performs like a Thunderbird would at 1.7 GHz, and so on and so on.

How does AMD come up with these numbers? Benchmarks – and lots of them. Based on three different and equally weighted categories (visual computing, productivity and gaming) AMD comes up with their model numbering system. To further prove their point, AMD is planning to have their testing of the Athlon XP processor audited by an independent third party which will be responsible for the accuracy and realism of the tests.

A more detailed look at AMD’s benchmarking system reveals this:

1. They use a broad range of industry standard benchmarks from the three categories (visual computing, productivity and gaming).
2. Each category is given equal weighting to the final score.
3. Each test in each category is also given equal weighting.
4. There are 14 total benchmarks covering 34 total applications being tested.
5. All the results are normalized, which allows for a direct comparison between two AMD processors or with any other competing processor.

Some examples of the benchmarks and applications used are:

  • Visual Computing
    • Content Creation Winstone 2001
      • Adobe Photoshop 5.5
      • Adobe Premier 5.1
      • Macromedia Director 8.0
      • Macromedia Dreamweaver 3.0
      • Netscape Navigator 4.73
      • Sonic Foundry Sound Forge 4.5
    • Sysmark 2001 Internet Content Creation
      • Adobe Photoshop 6.0
      • Adobe Premier 6.0
      • Macromedia Flash 5.0
      • Macromedia Dreamweaver 4.0
      • Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 7.0
  • Productivity
    • Business Winstone 2001
      • Microsoft Office 2000
      • Microsoft Project 98
      • Lotus Notes R5
      • NicoMak Winzip
      • Norton Antivirus
      • Netscape Communicator
    • Sysmark 2001 Office Productivity
      • Microsoft Office 2000
      • Netscape Communicator 6.0
      • Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred v.5
      • Winzip 8.0
      • McAfee VirusScan 5.13
  • Entertainment and Gaming
    • Game Titles
      • Quake III: Arena
      • Half-Life Smokin’
      • Expendable
      • AquaMark
      • DroneZ
      • Unreal Tournament
      • Evolva
      • MDK2
    • 3D Mark 2001 Hardware T & L
    • 3D Mark 2001 D3D Software

Obviously, AMD has spent a lot of time on this model numbering system and is being as consistent and fair with them as is possible.

There will no doubt be some backlash from some users over the use of both the XP signifier as well as the new model numbering system. But looking at the big picture from AMD perspective, this is truly the best choice for them to go in as an entire company. Initially, there will be some confusion and those hardware enthusiasts that just want to know the frequency of a processor will have to look past the model numbering system.

However, the major part of PCs sales are in the retail market, not the DIY market. And AMD needs a major part of the retail segment to survive the processor wars with Intel.

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