Multiprocessing for Everyone
For as long as we can remember, workstation users have enjoyed using computers with multi-processors while regular users only dreamt of having such systems. While it's true that power/budget-users have been rigging together MP systems since the old Celeron days, they've always been few and far between. Even though we had relatively inexpensive MP boards from companies like Abit, technical issues such as slockets and a general lack of OS/game support kept dual systems from penetrating further into the mainstream.
In the recent months however, we've seen a large nose dive in processor and memory costs, Windows 2000 became a stable and acceptable gaming platform (and XP is also designed to be), and the only factor left was finding a cheap MP motherboard - which are still very expensive to this day, but things are getting better. Thanks to the collaboration between AMD and TYAN (and other manufacturers soon), we're really beginning to see the possibilities of bringing mainstream multi-processor systems to the masses.
Thanks to the incredible success of the Athlon architecture, AMD was able to produce a plethora of different processors with a set for each market segment.
The Athlon "Thunderbird" line is probably the most widely used processor from AMD, followed by the low-cost Duron processor. Although these two processor models are without a doubt, very speedy, they are nearing the end of their life span. AMD is beginning to move all of its processors over to the Palomino core which we talked about a while back.
Fully optimized to run in multi-processor computers, the Athlon MP (based on the Palomino core) has new cache fetching and tracking features that help keep the processor fed with data so that it always operates at its peak. There are more features but in the end, they really all contribute to helping the Athlon MP take advantage of everything the rest of the system has to offer.
AMD is moving all of its processors to this new core in hopes that it will allow for faster clock speeds and more efficient performance. The release of the Athlon XP completes the current lineup of Palomino based processors:
Athlon MP - Palomino for high-end workstations and servers
Athlon XP - Palomino for performance desktops
Duron MP - Palomino for low-cost desktops
One of the interesting things about the last two processors is that they both contain the same optimizations and features that are in the Athlon MP. This means they should perform just as well as Athlon MP. However, AMD has locked the Athlon XP so that it will not operate in SMP mode; other than the lock, the Athlon XP is identical to the Athlon MP. The Duron MP on the other hand is an interesting processor in a unique situation.
In the following pages, we'll be comparing the following things:
Duron MP vs. Duron
Duron MP vs. Thunderbird
Duron MP vs. Athlon MP
It's going to be one brutal match, but we think you'll find the results very interesting - especially with the Duron MP.