COMDEX 2001 Summary

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My first meeting on Monday was with AMD at the convention center meeting rooms. While there wasn’t a lot of AMD specific information that was new at the show, they did provide some glimpses at other company’s motherboards as well as the Athlon XP 2000+ and an Athlon Thoroughbred core processor. I wasn’t able to get a look at either of the processors (they were installed in machines and running demos) but the fact that there were samples running at all tells me they are relatively close. If I had to take a guess, I would expect the 2000+ processor to be here around January and the Thoroughbred just a few months later.

Here are some pictures of the more interesting and intriguing motherboards that were on the “wall of motherboards” in their showroom.

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This last picture is the test system running a AMD Thoroughbred processor.

I know that many of you have been wondering when I was going to get more information on the Athlon XP and SiSoft memory scores conflict I was having. One of the technology advisors that was in the meeting I had offered some insight that, while not conclusive or official, gives me a good general understanding of what is going on. Basically, the SiSoft tests are very synthetic and basically try to stress the memory limits by copying large amounts of data all at once, instead of in a succession. It would seem that in cases like this, which are not typical of real world applications, the new data prefetch features of the Athlon XP processor are actually hindering the results, as they are trying to find the patterns in the program and predict the next part of the memory needed. However, since the copy is only done once, the prefetching process ends up taking up a small portion of the memory bus that the SiSoft test is also trying to get to.

As if finally meeting all the people I have been working with via the phone and email for the past year wasn’t enough, AMD set up a Night at the Races for media personnel to attend. AMD rented three high performance cars, a Corvette, a Viper and a Ferrari, and all of them are pictured below (sorry about the quality). Professional drivers took media as passengers and drag-raced down an official quarter-mile strip just outside Las Vegas. It was a killer experience!!

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