WITH OPTERON now officially set to debut at 1.6 and 1.8 GHz clockspeeds (and no 2 GHz model as initially hoped) discussions have resurfaced as to how well AMD is able to scale the Hammer architecture. 1.8 GHz, after all, is nothing new for the AthlonXP—AMD reached this speed nine months ago with the nuclear-furnace original-model 2200+ and shot nimbly past that speed once AMD revised their .13 micron process and cut their heat dissipation.
The apparent difference in headroom between the Hammer architecture and the AthlonXP is even more curious given the similarities between the two CPU's. According to AMD, several of the improvements made to the Hammer core (SOI and a longer pipeline) should make it easier for the CPU to reach higher clock speeds, not harder. If anything, we might expect to see Athlon 64 launching at a higher clock-rate then AthlonXP, even in its Opteron incarnation. Instead we see Opteron topping at 1.8 GHz while AthlonXP moves to its 3200+ speed grade (assumed by most to be 2.2 GHz).
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News source: The Inq