Final Words

AMD has had a very strong year, there is no doubt about that, however with the Pentium 4 able to ramp up to some very high clock speeds and already running much cooler than the Athlon at equivalent clock speeds.  Not to mention what could happen if SSE2 gets the quick adoption that Intel is hoping for. 

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The Athlon’s potential is quite great, however it’s going to take much more than a cooler running core to allow AMD to continue their growth in the performance desktop market.  We’ve seen the benefits that a very powerful branch prediction unit can give the Pentium 4, and it is widely known that the Athlon’s unit is holding it back in many cases. 

The Duron is on track to be our low cost processor of choice throughout 2001, but for AMD’s sake it needs much better chipset support than what it currently has.  As a mainstream solution the Duron needs little more than the KT133 and AMD 760 platforms that it has at its disposal, however in the sub $1,000 system market, especially when you get down to systems priced at under $600 there is a definite need for a highly integrated platform. 

While two solutions are currently on the way, VIA’s KM133 and the 730S from SiS, the question is how comfortable do you feel with the Savage4 core of the KM133 or SiS’ solution considering that they have never made an Athlon chipset before. 

Just as Intel’s success in 2001 is very dependent on the proper execution of their platforms as well as their CPUs, AMD will find themselves in a similar situation, however now with all of Intel’s cards on the table it will be interesting to see whether the Athlon gets an architectural improvement or not next year in order to continue its dominance.  The wrong decision on AMD’s part, or poorly executed third party chipsets could give Intel the chance to regain a lot of lost ground next year.  At the same time, if AMD repeats the level of success they have attained in the past 9 months alone, Intel could be in some very serious trouble. 

AMD is still not a chipset manufacturer
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