Yet another CPU launch
Intel's Northwood processor wasn't the only chip that launched yesterday. In a bid to steal a bit of Intel's thunder, AMD also launched its Athlon XP 2000+. Like its predecessors, Athlon XP 2000+ is built off AMD's Palomino core that was introduced last summer. As a result, the Athlon XP 2000+ still takes advantage of Palomino's support of Intel's SSE instructions and data prefetching (among other additions). As its name suggests, Athlon XP 2000+ also continues to don AMD's new model number scheme.
In the case of the XP 2000+, the chip actually runs at 1.67GHz, but offers performance equivalent to AMD's older Thunderbird processors if they had been designed to run at 2GHz. Of course, as you'll also see in our test results, the Athlon XP 2000+ also competes very favorably against Intel's own 2GHz Pentium 4. In most tests it outruns older 2GHz Pentium 4 chips based off of Intel's Willamette core, Athlon XP 2000+ is also able to give newer Northwood 2.2GHz chips a run for their money. But we'll get into that a little bit later.
With the Athlon XP, AMD replaced their traditional ceramic packaging with a new organic package. The new organic packaging is cheaper for AMD to manufacture but unfortunately it introduces new challenges for overclockers. While the bridges on Thunderbird processors could be easily connected with a conductive pen, trace tape, or even a #2 pencil, the Athlon XP's organic packaging has tiny crevices between the bridges that must be filled before the bridges can be connected with any of the aforementioned devices. So far, end users have successfully filled these crevices with such items as white out, epoxy, and even the rear window defogger kits you find in auto stores.
Before you get any ideas, keep in mind that none of these methods are guaranteed to work, and all will void your processor's warranty. Therefore the most reliable method for overclocking your Athlon XP is via the system bus; so make sure to get a motherboard with highly adjustable bus speed settings if you do desire to overclock your processor. We used ASUS's KT266A-based A7V266-E for our testing, and were able to successfully overclock our Athlon XP processor to 1.78GHz at 1.85V. It seems that the limit of most Athlon XP processors is in the mid 1700 to high 1800 range, although with overclocking results will vary from chip to chip.