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Athlon roundup

Names changes, new chips and steppings, and even a partnership with NVIDIA - AMD have been busy

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Image credit: Eurogamer

It's been a while since we reported an interesting piece of Athlon news, and all of a sudden loads of the stuff turns up at once. First up, you may recall that we recently spoke of the Palomino's future as "Athlon 4". According to ZDNet in Germany, which you may need to run through Babelfish if you don't speak the lingo, as far as notebooks are concerned it's Athlon 4, but for desktops and servers, the designation will be "Athlon MP". Although previous Athlons will be capable of co-operating with forthcoming SMP motherboard chipsets in multiprocessing modes, by adopting the MP suffix, business users will apparently be more inclined to buy it. JC reckons this is because the Pentium 4 isn't yet treated as a workstation or server CPU, and likening the Athlon to it would be a mistake given AMD's aspirations in those markets. A more interesting piece of news, also from JC's, is that 1.4GHz Athlons and 950MHz Durons have been sighted in Japan. The chips are due to launch publicly either this coming Monday or Wednesday., always a source of good information on processor trends, is reporting that the very same 1.4GHz Athlons ship with a new code on the core (you will recall all the excitement over "AXIA" cores a few weeks ago - same thing). The new cores are apparently five letters long, labelled "AYHJA", produced in weeks 19 and 20 this year. We're already seeing reports of 1.6GHz and above using these chips. Given our success with AXIAs (your humble correspondent is using a 1GHz chip running at 1.55GHz), the chances are these early reports aren't too incredible. Only a couple of American retailers have the chips yet, so don't get too excited. Judging by how long it took for AXIAs to filter through over here in the UK, we can expect AYHJA to hit in the next few weeks, certainly before July. If the new Athlon and Duron speeds launch next Wednesday, they will do so at the launch of the new AMD 760MP motherboard chipset. The chip, long awaited, will finally provide multiprocessing support for Athlon owners, and that can only mean Palomino, Athlon 4, Athlon MP-whatever, is very close by. The first boards based on 760MP will probably be announced next week - Tyan have already ripped the covers off their new "Thunder" MP board for Athlons, retailing at about $300 in the USA. Another thing worth mentioning while we're on the Athlon trail, is that memory standards body JEDEC, has officially adopted DDR333 and PC2700 standards for Double Data Rate memory. The memory runs at 167MHz and is capable of pushing serious amounts of data, and JEDEC's decision validates the sales claims of a lot of retailers trying to shift so-called PC2700 memory. At least now it's official, heavyweights like Crucial and Mushkin will take to it. We'll bring you more on that when we get our hands on some PC2700 sticks ourselves. Finally, we ought to give some space to the rumoured AMD/NVIDIA chipset crossover, "SNAP" (Strategic NVIDIA AMD Partnership). It's been difficult to get a straight report on this anywhere on the net, because both companies have been denying parts of it. Our contact at AMD this morning told us that the company had no comment for us. NVIDIA didn't respond by press time. From what we can make out, NVIDIA might be contributing a Socket A motherboard chipset (codenamed Crush), and through their collaboration with AMD, might give Intel (presumably Pentium 4) motherboard setups a run for their money. The deal can't be too Intel-unfriendly though, as NVIDIA will want to have them onside to keep their Xbox contribution moving along smoothly. The Inquirer reports that Abit, Gigabyte and MSI will all have boards using Crush 11 and Crush 12 chips showing at Computex. That's if it even exists at all. A lot of people seem to think it does though. Speaking of Computex, the annual Taipei hardware show, it's coming up soon, and presumably a lot of the gossip we've been hearing about a number of things in the hardware industry over the last few months will be straightened out for us then. Related Feature - AMD Athlon 1.33GHz Review

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