Gecko's CPU Library

AMD Athlon XP/MP (Thoroughbred) processors

Introduction: June 2002


Athlon was the brand name applied to a series of different x86 processors designed and manufactured by AMD. The original Athlon, or Athlon Classic, was the first seventh-generation x86 processor and, in a first, retained the initial performance lead it had over Intel's competing processors for a significant period of time. AMD had continued the Athlon name with the Athlon 64, an eighth-generation processor featuring AMD64 (later renamed x86-64) technology.

Athlon was the ancient Greek word for "Champion/trophy of the games", and made its debut on June 23, 1999.

The Thoroughbred core

The fourth-generation Athlon, the Thoroughbred, was released 10 June 2002 at 1.8GHz, or 2200+ on the PR rating system. There were actually two versions of this core, commonly called A and B. The A version was the one introduced at 1800MHz, which had some heat issues, so it was only sold in versions from 1333 to 1800MHz, replacing the Palomino. The B version, which had an additional metal layer, was released at higher clock speeds, up to the 2800+ model, which ran at 2250MHz. Later, it replaced the entire Athlon XP line until the launch of the Barton core. Two new models, the 2400+ and 2600+, were announced on 21 August 2002. The 2400+ ran at 2000MHz, and the 2600+ ran at 2083 or 2133MHz, depending on the front side bus speed (2083MHz for 333MT/s FSB, 2133MHz for 266MT/s FSB). 2700+ and 2800+ Thoroughbred parts were also announced, but were only available in very small quantities.

The "Thoroughbred" core was on a 0.13 micrometre (130 nm) process, updated from the 0.18 micrometre (180 nm) process of its "Palomino" predecessor. Other than the new process, the Thoroughbred design was not different from the "Palomino" in any way. AMD did have initial troubles with the "Thoroughbred A" revision having substantial heat issues, which were solved in the "B" revision. The rev. A may have been on the 130 nm process, but it offered no real improvements over the old Palomino. Overclockers still liked to use the Palomino; even with it being made on the 180 nm process, it still was able to hit higher clock speeds. The Thoroughbred "B" fixed this problem by adding an extra metal layer to the manufacturing process, allowing enhanced speeds that would allow them to become competitive again. At first, 2600+ was released. Later, AMD raised the FSB from 266MT/s (133MHz double-pumped) to 333MT/s (166MHz double-pumped). This allowed the company to raise the performance rating numbers of the CPUs without actually upping the clock speed much. However, AMD failed to manufacture and ship acceptable amounts of the highest-end 2700+ and 2800+ Thoroughbreds, and as a result they were hard to obtain.

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.