Although AMD has, once more, pushed the launch of the Athlon-64 back by several months they came out with a new Athlon XP processor recently, and as evident from the performance rating, 3000+, this new processor is meant to go head to head with Intel’s latest offering. The new Athlon XP 3000+ is based on AMD’s new 0.13-micron process which will also be used in manufacturing the upcoming Athlon-64. The Athlon XP 3000+ is based on a new core, codename Barton, which has a number of advantages over the previous, Thoroughbred, Athlon XP core. The biggest advantage, from looking at the specifications, obviously is the larger cache memory.
Fig 1. The new Athlon XP 3000+ (r) with Barton core together with the Athlon XP 2700+
The Thoroughbred core had to make due with 128KB L1 and 256KB L2 cache memory, the Barton core has no less than double the amount of L2 cache memory, 512KB, which, from what we’ve seen from previous generations of processors, should yield performance benefits right from the start. One of the advantages of larger cache memory is the simple fact that the processor can store data and instructions locally, instead of having to go back to main memory, or even worse, the hard disk, to retrieve the data, this helps to up the efficiency of the processor and thus increases performance.
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