Today we're playing with the AMD AthlonXP 2600+ that ships from the factory at 333Mhz front side bus. Here at OCAddiction we admit it up front, we're speed whores. We really don't care what it says on the box so long as it's faster. That said, we've been excited to play with these new Thoroughbreds and see if they are really that much improved over their 266Mhz bus little brothers. We're adopting pretty much a just the facts approach to this review. A little about the CPU, a few key features, some CPU benchmarks, and then we'll wrap it up.
AMD has been giving Intel a run for their processing in the PC enthusiasts market since the release of the AMD Athlon Slot A processors. For the last two years or so it has been a battle at the top of the CPU competition with both AMD and Intel scratching and clawing. With the release of the Northwood CPU's by Intel in early '02 Intel seemed to be pulling away a bit and regaining its dominant position for the most part.
AMD, never far behind in the CPU speed race and always neck and neck in performance finally realized it was going to take something significant to again establish it's position as a player in both the OEM and home builder markets. Enter the 333Mhz front side bus AthlonXP. The 333 front side bus effectively took the system bus from their traditional 133Mhz to 166Mhz, considering their twin pipe's that leaves you effectively with a 333Mhz bus for your CPU.
To bring themselves into a position to compete with the faster chips and higher front side bus AMD got with the Dresden , Germany facility and put them on the mission to mass produce the Thoroughbred core based on the .13 micron copper process technology. This allowed AMD to finally have a CPU capable of some serious speeds without heat being a huge problem for them as it has in the past.
After some initial availability problems (which still exist with the 2800+) AMD is finally delivering the 2600+ and 2700+ in mass quantities.
OUT OF THE BOX:
AMD's retail packaging is the same as it's been in the recent past, which means a real pain in the a&%.., er butt to open.
After about 5 minutes with my trusty Spyderco knife I was able to get the package open without bouncing the CPU on the floor, which compared to my previous experiences could be seen as nothing short of victory.
As you can see on the box it proudly proclaims it's 333Mhz front side bus and declares it self suited for "EXTREME Performance for Windows XP". Well, that's certainly something we like to read, but even more it's something we like to SEE!
With the box apart that left me staring right in the eye of our brand new 2600+ CPU. Being of a Thoroughbred core it looked a little different than the old AthlonXP 1700+ I had last used.
You'll notice that the die is considerably smaller, and no longer is the product text engraved on the die, it is now on a sticker much like the old PentiumIII's. The back of the chip has no visible components other than the pins of course.
One thing that caught me off guard was the quality of the retail heat sink included with this 2600+. It was, for lack of a better term, a relative beast. Notice in the images below the attached heat plate where the CPU rests when mounted. While no one can call in to question the meanness of the appearance, I have to wonder if it actually helps or hinders performance. Another layer for the heat to fight thru can certainly add more heat trapping and lead to slower heat transfers, but I have o assume AMD knows what they're doing here. All of that considered, let's be honest here. The majority of you that are reading this review do NOT plan to use the retail cooler anyway, do ya?
Let's head to page 2 and look at some features and benchmarks..
KEITHLEE2zdeconfigurator/configs/INFUSIONSOFT_OVERLAY.phpzdeconfigurator/configs/ OFFLOADING INFUSIONSOFTLOADING INFUSIONSOFT 1debug:overlay status: OFF overlay not displayed overlay cookie defined: TI_CAMPAIGN_1012_D OVERLAY COOKIE set: status off