AMD ships 1.1 GHz 'Thunderbird' Athlon

Intel competitor AMD announced Monday the immediate availability of its 1.1 GHz (1,100 MHz) Athlon microprocessor, which is now shipping in new systems from 10 major PC makers. The 1.1 GHz Athlon regains ground lost to Intel's Pentium III, which recently reached 1.13 GHz. But the Pentium III, which debuted at 1 GHz after AMD's Athlon, has consistently bested AMD's offerings at the same clock speeds. With this new "Socket A"-based design, AMD claims that it has once again obtained the PC performance crown.

"By supplying the highest performing PC processors in volume, AMD has reshaped the performance segment of the market, which now extends from 800MHz to 1.1GHz," says AMD executive vice president Rob Herb. "Because of AMD’s superior product architectures, manufacturing ability, and outstanding execution, at any system price point, business and home users will get a more powerful PC with an AMD processor-based system."

The AMD Athlon is an Intel x86-compatible microprocessor that features a superpipelined microarchitecture optimized for blazingly fast speeds. New versions of the Athlon--which were developed under the codename "Thunderbird"--feature 256KB of on-board L2 cache and 128KB of on-board L1 cache, enhanced "3DNow!" integer-enhancing capabilities, and a 200 MHz system bus. The Thunderbird Athlons also feature a new Socket A design that replaces the old slot-based design from earlier chips. AMD says that these features enable it to best Intel's fastest Pentium III designs, which are nearing the end of their life cycle.

Systems from Gateway, Micro Express, Mitsuba, and other companies are already shipping systems based on the Thunderbird Athlon. Compaq, HP, and IBM will soon be taking orders on Athlon-based systems as well

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