AMD's Athlon XP 2200+ Processor

AMD's Athlon XP 2200+ Processor - Page 1


AMD's Athlon XP 2200+ Processor
The "Thoroughbreds" at .13 Debut!

By, Marco Chiappetta
June 10, 2002

Approximately one year ago, AMD Athlon processors based on the "Thunderbird" core, were reaching the end of their lifespan.  The "Thunderbird" had long been a favorite of the enthusiast community.  It was priced very competitively and performed on par, or better than anything Intel had to offer at the time.  AMD wasn't done giving Intel a hard time yet, however.  They introduced a new version of their immensely popular CPU based on a new core dubbed "Palomino". With the new "Palominos", AMD incorporated a few key enhancements that would further increase the overall performance of their CPUs.  These enhancements included, support for Intel's SSE instructions, improved hardware data pre-fetch circuitry, improved look-aside buffers and an on-die thermal diode.  Even with the new features, the "Palominos" used less power, which in turn produced less heat.  AMD also began manufacturing their CPUs using organic packaging, instead of the dated ceramic packaging used in previous generations. Today, AMDs "Palomino" has come to a similar fate.  They have reached their so called "end of life" and are about to be replaced by the new core on the block, AMD's "Thoroughbred".

Unfortunately, AMD hasn't really enhanced the core with the "Thoroughbreds".  The only thing new about these CPUs is the .13 micron manufacturing process used to build them (The older "Palominos" were built on a .18 micron process).  Building CPUs on a .13 micron process has a few inherent benefits though.  The .13 micron wafer fabrication technology makes for a significantly smaller die size versus the older .18 micron based "Palominos". This smaller the die, requires less power and should allow this new core to scale to much higher clock speeds.  The CPU we'll be looking at today, is AMD's latest in the Athlon XP line, that is now based on the "Thoroughbred" core, the 2200+.  The Athlon XP 2200+ is clocked at 1800MHz. using the same 133MHz. DDR (266MHz. effective) bus as the "Palominos".  What do you say we get a little closer look and see what really makes this CPU tick?

Specifications of the AMD Athlon XP 2200+ Processor
A .13 Process And A Few More Clock Cycles!

The Athlon XP 2200+ we tested was packaged in brown organic material (scanned below).  AMD will eventually produce all of their CPUs using green packaging.  Don't worry if you get a brown CPU though, the color has absolutely no bearing on performance.


Key Architectural Features of the AMD Athlon? XP Processor:

  • QuantiSpeed? Architecture for enhanced performance

  • Nine-issue superpipelined, superscalar x86 processor microarchitecture designed for high performance

  • Multiple parallel x86 instruction decoders

  • Three out-of-order, superscalar, fully pipelined floating point execution units, which execute x87 (floating point), MMX? and 3DNow!? instructions

  • Three out-of-order, superscalar, pipelined integer units

  • Three out-of-order, superscalar, pipelined address calculation units

  • 72-entry instruction control unit

  • Advanced hardware data prefetch

  • Exclusive and speculative Translation Look-aside Buffers

  • Advanced dynamic branch prediction

3DNow!? Professional technology for leading-edge 3D operation:

  • 21 original 3DNow!? instructions?the first technology enabling superscalar SIMD

  • 19 additional instructions to enable improved integer math calculations for speech or video encoding and improved data movement for Internet plug-ins and other streaming applications

  • 5 DSP instructions to improve soft modem, soft ADSL, Dolby Digital surround sound, and MP3 applications

  • 52 SSE instructions with SIMD integer and floating point additions offer excellent compatibility with Intel's SSE technology

  • Compatible with Windows® XP, Windows 98, Windows 95, and Windows NT® 4.x operating systems

266MHz AMD Athlon? XP processor system bus enables excellent system bandwidth for data movement-intensive applications:

  • Source synchronous clocking (clock forwarding) technology

  • Support for 8-bit ECC for data bus integrity

  • Peak data rate of 2.1GB/s

  • Multiprocessing support: point-to-point topology, with number of processors in SMP systems determined by chipset implementation

  • Support for 24 outstanding transactions per processor

Other Architectural Elements:

  • The AMD Athlon? XP processor with performance-enhancing cache memory features 64K instruction and 64K data cache for a total of 128K L1 cache. 256K of integrated, on-chip L2 cache for a total of 384K full-speed, on-chip cache.

  • Socket A infrastructure designs are based on high-performance platforms and are supported by a full line of optimized infrastructure solutions (chipsets, motherboards, BIOS). Available in Pin Grid Array (PGA) for mounting in a socketed infrastructure Electrical interface compatible with 266MHz AMD Athlon XP system buses, based on Alpha EV6? bus protocol

  • Die size: approximately 37.5 million transistors on 80mm2. Manufactured using AMD's state-of-the-art 0.13-micron copper process technology.

In the picture above, we compare the "Palomino" core to the new "Thoroughbred" core.  This scaled, side-by-side comparison shows the differences between the two cores very well.  The on-die L2 cache was brought down to what is the bottom of the die plot above and the rest of the core was simply shrunk down, with the help of the new manufacturing process.  As you can see, the .13 micron "Thoroughbred" core is significantly smaller than the "Palomino", 80mmversus 128mm2.  This is a physical size reduction of 37.5%.  AMD can now produce more dies per wafer, which should lower prices and increase availability as the process matures and yields increase.  A physical reduction in size is not the only benefit...


This table illustrates the lower voltage requirements and thermal output.  The current high-end "Thoroughbred" requires 1.65v for nominal operation, which is about 6% lower than the slower clocked Athlon XP 2100+.  Something I'm sure all of you overclockers out there will like to hear, is that AMD has plans to produce all future Athlons using the .13 micron manufacturing process.  That means we'll soon be seeing Athlon XP "Thoroughbred" CPUs, at 1467MHz on up.  We haven't tested one just yet but we suspect these lower clocked "Thoroughbred" based Athlons will have major headroom for overclocking.


Processor ID and Overclocking

Tags:  AMD, processor, CES, Athlon, XP, process, pro, SSO, AM

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