The new AMD Athlon XP is finally here and users can now look forward to more powerful processors with the new Barton core that spots a larger 512KB Level 2 cache. The latest and greatest Athlon XP 3000+ processor featured in this review is indeed a very powerful processor that delivers between 3 - 17% more performance than the Athlon XP 2700+ which happens to be clocked at the same frequency. This demonstrates the Athlon's performance scalability with a larger secondary cache and it will further extend the performance scale of the AMD Athlon XP processor.
Comparing the Athlon XP 3000+ with our vapochilled Thoroughbred processor produced some mixed results. On one hand, we know that vapochilling current Thoroughbred processors could produce results similar or better than the Athlon XP 3000+. On the other hand, we can see that the Athlon architecture is indeed benefiting from the full-speed 512KB L2 cache. This simply means that AMD has the ability to further scale their processor's performance past the Pentium 4 if they are able to yield their silicon at higher speeds. In other words, a Barton core at 2.167GHz is quite comparable or close to the performance of a Pentium 4 processor at 3.06GHz. Thus, it's hard not to blame AMD for rating their processors with model numbers instead of the actual speed. Still, if AMD is not able to push their silicon yields to higher speeds, they might just lose the GHz war. However, as we have mentioned in the past, Barton is the key to beating the Pentium 4 and if AMD place their chess pieces correctly, they might just be able to snatch back some market share. Still, one must not forget that the Athlon XP has to be pretty attractive in terms of performance and price in order to convert Intel users who have experienced and seen the power of Hyper-Threading technology.
The AMD Athlon XP 3000+ processor.
All in all, the new Athlon XP 3000+ with 512KB of Level 2 cache is a rather attractive processor for users who want the best performance out of their current Athlon-based system. AMD has kept the processor form factor constant and we have to give credit to AMD for maintaining a compatible socket format that makes it very easy for power users to upgrade their processors. However, the speed of the Athlon XP 3000+ is still not as fast as the Pentium 4 although it managed to beat the 3.06GHz P4 in certain benchmarks. Still, we'd preferred a higher clocked Barton core as the Athlon XP 3000+.
The new Athlon XP 3000+ processor will be priced at US$588 in 1,000-unit quantities upon introduction. Compared with the Intel Pentium 4 processor at 3.06GHz which is priced at US$637 in 1,000-unit quantities, the Athlon XP 3000+ processor does offer compelling value. However, based on rumors on Intel processor price cuts, it won't be long before Intel slash the prices of their 3.06GHz processors to match the Athlon XP 3000+ pricing.