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AMD cloaks Athlon 1900+ clock speed

A new kind of obfuscation?

"We're not trying to hide clock speeds," said AMD Europe's marketing chief, Robert Stead, at the launch of the company's controversial Athlon XP model numbering scheme on 9 October.

Stead and co. were at pains to point out that the company intended to be open about its chips' clock speeds.

And, indeed, AMD was quick to point out each member of the Athlon XP family's clock frequency: 1.33GHz for the 1500+, 1.40GHz for the 1600+, 1.47GHz for the 1600+ and 1.53GHz for the 1800+. The company also said it would quickly push down the path of righteousness any chip reseller who inadvertently failed to indicate or mis-quoted an XP's clock speed.

So perhaps AMD's new performance rating advocacy manager, Patrick Moorhead, would like to investigate the latest violator of AMD's clock speed rules: AMD itself.

As far as we can see, the chip maker's latest press releases, announcing the arrival of the Athlon XP 1900+, has no reference to the part's clock speed.

We're sure the chip's clock-speed - it's 1.6GHz - is somewhere on AMD's site - it's tucked away in the FAQ, we've just seen - but it's not exactly obvious to the casual viewer. So much for openness... ®

That press release in full:


AMD's QuantiSpeed™ architecture delivers extreme performance for Microsoft Windows XP

SUNNYVALE, CA-NOVEMBER 5, 2001 - AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced the new AMD Athlon™ XP processor 1900+, which sets a new level of performance and continues to extend AMD's leadership with the world's highest overall performing PC processor. The AMD Athlon XP processor 1900+ features QuantiSpeed™ architecture and delivers up to a 25-percent performance advantage versus competitive processors on real-world applications, in such categories as digital media, office productivity and 3D gaming.

AMD has worked closely with Microsoft to ensure systems powered by the AMD Athlon XP processor with QuantiSpeed architecture provide Windows XP users with extreme performance for a great PC experience. QuantiSpeed is the key architectural feature of the AMD Athlon XP processor that allows it to work more efficiently and increase application performance.

"The AMD Athlon XP processor 1900+ with QuantiSpeed architecture accelerates AMD's position as the PC processor performance leader," said Ed Ellett, vice president of marketing for AMD's Computation Products Group. "AMD continues to demonstrate that megahertz is not the sole measure of performance. The AMD Athlon XP processor combines innovative architectural design and expertise to deliver the highest PC application performance for home and business consumers."

AMD identifies the AMD Athlon XP processor using model numbers, as opposed to clock speed in megahertz. Model numbers are designed to convey the relative performance of AMD Athlon XP processors, as well as communicate the architectural superiority over existing AMD Athlon processors. The higher the model number, the better the performance.

To communicate processor performance in the future, AMD is driving the True Performance Initiative, or TPI. TPI is intended to define a new, more accurate measure of processor performance and assist customers in understanding the benefits of PC performance.

"Compaq is pleased to offer PCs powered by the latest AMD Athlon XP processing technology," said Brett Faulk, director of Home and Small Office Desktop Marketing in Compaq Computer Corporation's Access Business Group. "The advanced performance of the new AMD Athlon XP processor 1900+ with QuantiSpeed architecture will enhance the superior gaming, digital video, and productivity applications for which Compaq Presario PCs are preferred."

"The AMD Athlon XP processor 1900+ with QuantiSpeed architecture is designed to work exceptionally well with today's demanding real-world and mission-critical applications," said Paul Petersen, vice president of product marketing and development at MicronPC. "By providing the optimum balance of processor clock speed and the amount of work done per clock cycle, the AMD Athlon XP processor 1900+ with QuantiSpeed architecture is an ideal platform to provide our PC enthusiast customers with a superior computing experience."

AMD and its partners continue to drive performance improvements to the Socket A platform. One of the latest innovations includes VIA's KT266a chipset, which improves overall AMD Athlon XP processor performance.

"The combination of the VIA Apollo KT266A, the AMD Athlon XP processor 1900+ with QuantiSpeed architecture, and DDR memory, provides consumers with powerful technology that delivers exceptional performance," said Ted Lee, vice president, sales and marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc.


Systems featuring the AMD Athlon XP processor 1900+ are immediately available from MicronPC. Other top-tier manufacturers, including Compaq Computer Corporation, Fujitsu and Hewlett-Packard Company, also are planning to offer AMD Athlon XP processor-based systems.


The AMD Athlon XP processor 1900+ is priced at $269 in 1,000-unit quantities. For more information on pricing, please visit:,,51_104_609,00.html

About the AMD Athlon(tm) XP Processor

The AMD Athlon(tm) XP processor features QuantiSpeed(tm) architecture, 384KB of on-chip, full-speed cache, and support for AMD's 3DNow!(tm) Professional instructions for enhanced multimedia capabilities. The AMD Athlon XP processor is compatible with AMD's Socket A infrastructure, and supports the advanced 266MHz front-side bus. AMD Athlon XP processors are manufactured using AMD's 0.18-micron copper process technology in Fab 30 in Dresden, Germany.

About AMD

AMD is a global supplier of integrated circuits for the personal and networked computer and communications markets with manufacturing facilities in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Asia. AMD, a Fortune 500 and Standard & Poor's 500 company, produces microprocessors, Flash memory devices, and support circuitry for communications and networking applications. Founded in 1969 and based in Sunnyvale, California, AMD had revenues of $4.6 billion in 2000. (NYSE: AMD).

AMD on the Web

For more information about today's announcement, please visit our virtual pressroom at Additional press releases are available at

AMD, the AMD Arrow logo, AMD Athlon, and combinations thereof, QuantiSpeed, and 3DNow! are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Microsoft and Windows are registered trademarks of the Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other jurisdictions. Other product names are for informational purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective companies.

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