What's the frequency, AMD?

What's the frequency, AMD?

Throwing the clock-speed nomenclature out the window, AMD has embarked on a radical new strategy, moving away from frequency to focus on performance in the chip speed race.

Speaking at the launch of AMD's Athlon XP processor yesterday, country manager John Robinson announced new model numbers for its new chip line, as well as outlining the chipmaker's plans to steer the development of a new processor performance metric.

"Megahertz no longer means higher performance. We will move to new model number to reflect the performance of the processors," Robinson said.

"A consortium will come together to develop an industry standard to measure processor performance - the True Performance Initiative."

As the name suggests, AMD has optimised its XP - formerly codenamed Palomino - range to Microsoft's anticipated new operating system. Over the past months, AMD channel partners have shipped more than 1000 systems through Microsoft's labs to ensure optimisation, said Robinson, who believes the processor will outperform its Intel Pentium 4 counterpart by up to 25 per cent on an array of operations.

"We are so confident that we have asked Arthur Andersen to independently verify the performance examination results."

Regardless of performance however, the chipmaker faces an uphill battle overcoming the megahertz mindset that has been entrenched in consumers.

The Athlon XP series has been given the thumbs up by AMD's channel partners, with ASI Solutions, Optima and Peripherals Plus showcasing new systems at the launch.

"The main thing with the XP processor is it is legacy compatible with Socket A," said ASI Solutions product manger Darren Miller. "There are also 52 new instructions on the board in addition to the Athlon core."

However, Miller stressed the need for an extensive campaign by the chipmaker in order to iron out any confusion the new nomenclature could create amongst end users.

"AMD will need a focused education campaign to deliver this new technology to the market," he said. "We have already started working with clients."

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