The week in review: Chip wars

Chipmakers are pushing processors that are smaller, faster and more technologically sophisticated, heating up a competitive struggle that shows no signs of a clear-cut victor.

With the unveiling of its Athlon XP processor for PCs, Advanced Micro Devices boasted that the Athlon XP 1800+ chip outperforms Intel's 2GHz Pentium 4 chip, even though the XP 1800+ runs at 1.53GHz. Yet testers are still divided and say performance depends on the application.

Some testers said the Athlon XP outperformed the 2GHz Pentium 4. However, the 2GHz Pentium 4 showed higher performance on tests related to 3D graphics, such as some involving the game "Quake 3." But the Athlon XP 1800+ excelled at productivity applications, such as word processing and e-mail.

In related news, sources say Intel won't release another version of the Pentium 4 until early 2002--a boon for AMD. "Northwood," a 2.2GHz Pentium 4 based on the 130-nanometer (0.13-micron) manufacturing process, will come out commercially in the first part of 2002. The new date isn't because of manufacturing problems; Intel is trying to avoid potential glitches during the holiday-shopping season.

News source: CNet

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