AMD Athlon processor overview

AMD Athlon computer processor is introduced in 1999. It was the first seventh generation CPU designed based on K7 micro architecture. Athlon was high-performing processor when it was released. Since then, AMD continued to introduce different versions of Athlon processor which vary in the technology they incorporate and their efficiency.

After the release of the first Athlon processor family, in 2000 AMD came again with revised version of Athlon processor – called Thunderbird core processor. The unique feature of this processor is that it integrates 256KB L2 cache directly on the processor die. This integration of cache on the Thunderbird Athlon CPU enable the L2 cache to run at the same speed with the processor which significantly enhanced the computing time.

In fact, Athlon processor is one of AMD’s successful processor which compete Intel’s processors both in design and performance. For example, AMD outranked Intel for a while by introducing the first desktop processor that runs at 1GHz. Besides, built in with AMD64 technology Athlon is fully Windows compatible processor. You can run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications at the same time on the same platform.

General features of AMD Athlon processor

  • Speed ranges from 500MHz to 1.4GHz
  • Front side bus is 200MHz or 266MHz
  • Integrated DDR memory controller which enables a processor to communicate with the main memory directly
  • AMD64 technology – which enables a processor to run 32-bit applications as well
  • Up to 2GHz Hyper transport technology
  • Enhanced 3DNow Multimedia technology support
  • Streaming SIMd Instructions (SSE2 and SSE3)set support
  • 128 L1 cache and 512 or 1MB L2 cache
  • 64-bit instruction set support
  • MMX instructions support
  • Built in with enhanced virus protection technology (supported in Windows XP SP2 operating system)
  • Lower power consumption

Other versions of AMD Athlon processor

Other than the first and second generation of Athlon processors, AMD released several types of Athlon family processors.

The following CPUs are grouped into AMD family processors:-

AMD Duron processor – it is a processor derived from the original Athlon processor but with a slight modification on L2 cache. The L2 cache size is reduced to 64KB. It was designed for low-cost computers though it is out of the market now and replaced by improved Sempron processor.

AMD Athlon XP – this is the third generation processor introduced in 2001 by incorporating new and improved features. These features include full SSE instruction set from Intel Pentium III, 3DNow multimedia instructions, 512KB L2 on-die cache that runs at the same speed of the processor and 266MHz or 333MHz system bus speed.

Athlon MP – similar to the previous Athlon processors, but Athlon MP is the first processor to support multi core processing. It is used for servers and workstation systems.

Processors built in with K8 micro architecture also branded using the name Athlon.

- AMD Athlon 64 FX processor and AMD Athlon 64

- AMD Sempron processor

- AMD Athlon X2 processor, AMD Athlon 64 X2 processor

This is an overview of Athlon processors. More information can be found at the AMD website.

Benefits of AMD Athlon processor

Other than using for word processing, spreadsheet, email and web browsing, Athlon processor gives efficient performance for the following applications.

  • For working on multimedia applications such as video, audio and graphics programs
  • Running multiple applications
  • Works well with high speed internet connection which enables a user to play online games

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