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A look at the week from The Peddie Report-Is AMD's Latest CPU the Fastest?

By DMN Staff Writer
Hey! Do you have any idea what day it is? Obviously, we don't since we're way late getting the TOC into your hands this week.

What happened? Well, Jerry Sanders invited us off to San Francisco to see his full frontal attack on Intel's Pentium 4 and to fire off a few rounds in the Megaherz war. We were so excited, we leapt out of bed on Monday and rushed into town only to find out that the event was actually on Tuesday. Our whole week has been kind of like that.

In case you didn't hear, Sanders and his AMD execs put on a show at the Fairmont in San Francisco to roll out the newest Athlons and at the same time defend themselves against the perception that the new Athlons are slower than Pentium 4s with higher clock speeds. We don't know if it will work, we believe that consumers would just as soon look at numbers than hear a complicated discussion about instruction processing. AMD intends to make it work by appointing Patrick Moorehead czar of consumer advocacy. And then the new VP of Consumer Advocacy promptly set about confusing consumers with a new naming nomenclature for their new Athlon XP chips, based on the Palamino core and built using AMD's 0.18-micron process. AMD says they want to communicate that this new core is considerably faster than their older core based on the Thunderbird, and competitive with Intel's Pentium 4 processors at faster clock speeds. Thus the newest Athlon 1.33 GHz will be known as the Athlon 1500+ because it's comparable with AMD's 1.5 GHz processor in the older technology. Likewise, the 1.53 GHz version will be known as the Athlon XP 1800+. Clear?

We think Moorehead's going to need an under-assistant of explaining things before he really starts advocating for consumers.

Speaking of consumers, doesn't the consumer season seem to be getting off to a slow start? Here it is already October and we're just now getting the onslaught of new products for Christmas. Intel is introducing a raft of new processors for Mobile computers and they're focusing on long battery life and low power. We think low prices are going to be one of the real themes this year. Also, it's not just AMD that's leaping on the XP bandwagon. Expect to see XP everywhere. For example, ATI is introducing their new boards with the XP signifier featured prominently in the packaging. So far we've seen various versions of the Radeon 7000, Radeon 7200, and the Radeon 8500 hit the streets. It seems like they'll have about 95 SKUs before they're done. Nvidia and their customers are keeping up the assault with the new products based on the improved Titanium version of the GeForce. Nvidia, with a cozy relationship with Microsoft in the bag because of Xbox isn't quite as explicit about the whole XP thing but don't think for a moment that Nvidia and their customers in the retail business don't have plans to capitalize on the new OS. After all, Windows XP is the most interesting thing showing up on the radar scope to goose the flagging consumer PC business. Those companies introducing new GeForce Ti products like Elsa, Asustek, and VisionTek are not going to ignore XP. Rather, they'll have their own promotions. This season, when you walk into retail stores, it won't be visions of sugar plums dancing in front of your eyes, it'll be a whole lot of XPs displayed on box after box on store shelves.

As a matter of fact, we've got to go. Louis Burns wants us down in Burlingame to tell us how Microsoft and Intel are working together to optimize the Pentium 4 for Windows XP.

We do hope most of you who are subscribers have already read the October 8, 2001 issue of the Peddie Report. But, if you need us to tell you, it's available for download at www.jpa.com/subscribers/notice.2.html.

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