AMD Athlon XP 2600+ comparison review

Wednesday, August 21, 2002


Today, a new series of AMD Athlon XP has been unleashed onto the market. The new chips -- the Athlon XP 2400+, and the Athlon XP 2600+ -- are based on the "Thoroughbred" CPU core, manufactured using a 0.13 micron process, and are the first AMD chips to break the 2GHz barrier by running at 2GHz, and 2.133GHz respectively.

If you recall from previous reviews, the architecture of the "Thoroughbred" core is nearly identical to that of genuine Thoroughbred core. Aside some minor changes as concern the amount of metal layer that jumped from 8 to 9 layers, some additional decoupling capacitors to improve the signal path and 100,000 additional transistors, nothing else has changed. The L1 and L2 caches have also remained static, and it won't be until the release of "Barton" -- the 7th generation of the Athlon XP -- that users can expect to see the L2 double in size.

A number of readers also contacted us following our last Athlon review with their comments. The hottest topic throughout the letters we received concerned the platforms we used for our comparative tests.

Essentially, the greatest reproach we received was for comparing DDR-memory AMD platforms to Pentium 4 platforms using Direct RAMBUS memory.

While we have, in the past, constructed our tests in such a way as to compare only the highest ends of both platforms to one another, this time we've decided to switch gears, and add a DDR266 Intel P4 system to the mix.

Today's tests will also only include figures for the new XP 2600+, as we have not received a sample of the XP 2400+ for testing.


That being said, of course, if we really wanted to be perfectly fair to both platforms, we would have to hobble the AMD systems a bit by equipping them with DDR266 memory, rather than the faster DDR333 modules they're capable of using. After all, there are no Intel P4 systems with official support for DDR333. So, with that firmly in mind, we reconfigured our test systems to run their memory at 266MHz (133MHz, clock-doubled bus speed), in order to level the playing field.

In other words, our tests will not reflect the maximum real-world performance of either the Athlon XP 2600+ -- who's memory is set to run at only 266MHz -- or the 2.53GHz Pentium 4 -- which will being using DDR266 memory, rather than DRDRAM.

And so there you have it! Hopefully, all our readers will bear these caveats in mind as we run through our performance results.


  • Athlon XP model number: 2600+
  • Operating Frequency: 2.13GHz
  • Manufactured: AMD's Fab 30 wafer fabrication facility in Dresden, Germany.
  • Process Technology: 0.13 micron copper process technology
  • Cache Size: L1 - 128KB and L2 - 256KB (384KB Total Cache)
  • Nominal Voltage: 1.65v
  • Die Size: 84mm2
  • Transistor count: Approx: 37.6 million
  • Infrastructure: Socket A
  • Max Die Temp: 85 degrees Celsius
  • Max Thermal Power: 68.3 W
  • Typical Thermal Power: 62.0 W
  • Icc (processor current) Max: 41.4 A
  • Icc Typical: 37.6 A


  • model 2600+ $297 each
  • model 2400+ $193 each
  • model 2200+ $183 each
  • model 2100+ $174 each
  • model 2000+ $155 each
  • model 1900+ $139 each
  • model 1800+ $130 each
  • model 1700+ $114 each

    Next: The test setup.

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