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Review: AMD Athlon XP2600

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 21 August 2002, 00:00


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New speed, but how?

Let's get one thing out of the way before we carry on. 2.13GHz is easy for the XP2600+ CPU I'm testing today. At 1.65V, 16 x 133, 2.13GHz is a push over and the CPU runs cool. And without giving the game away just yet, it goes a lot higher. But how? What's different from the XP2200+ core?

Like Intel, AMD don't release a CPU and sit down and have a large cup of tea for 2 months and then stuggle to get a new CPU out at the next speed grade. Despite the rumours, AMD have been working extremely hard on the 0.13u revision of the Athlon XP so that they can stay competitive with Intel on the desktop processor front.

As far as AMD's press literature for the new CPU's is concerned, the new speed is gained via a number of enhancements to the core. An extra layer of metal was added to the CPU core (probably much like what you'll see here) to reduce resistance and capacitance. Electromagnetic interferance has been reduced by additional 'decoupling capacitors' and finally according to the press literature we have, the speed paths in the CPU might have had some touching up and improvements since the initial release of XP2200+.

So the new improvements to the core, mostly general refinements that any CPU design will undergo in its lifetime, are responsible for this latest speed hike which to this reviewer at least is something of a surprise.

So lets take a look at performance and see where the XP2600 sits on the graphs. I'll apologise right now for not pitting it against a 2.53B P4, but the Hexus 2.53B is AWOL and couldn't get to me in time for this article going live. So the XP2600 and KT333 goes up against 2.4B on DDR and XP2200 on KT333. I'll update the graphs and article with a look at 2.53B performance as soon as that is possible. It was either wait and have nothing for you now, or forge ahead and update later. Hopefully 2.53B performance wont be too hard for you to imagine and I'll comment where necessary to keep you on track with where it would be (I have some pseudo 2.53GHz performance from a slightly overclocked 2.26B that I'll use for that).

So it's up against 2.4B on 645DX and XP2200+ on KT333 with some 2.53GHz P4 commentary thrown in for good measure.