The war for supremacy
The war rages on
It was only a few months ago that we reviewed the 800MHz Kryotech Cool Athlon 800. Now here we are with a review of an air-cooled Athlon 800MHz at a substantially cheaper price! Now that the MHz war is essentially tied, we expect the battle to die down - Briefly. Intel is already hard at work on 866MHz and 933MHz Coppermine's even as we speak.
Don't expect AMD to lie down either, future Athlon CPU's will continue to get faster, much to the delight of bargain hunters looking for the next CPU to overclock, and to the distaste of hardcore consumers who want to have the fastest CPU available.
After all, with OEM's such as Compaq and IBM requesting faster Athlons each month, who is AMD to turn them down? Remember, with each new processor release AMD can charge a premium price for the newer, faster processors. No longer constrained to the budget PC market AMD must be happy with the way their fortunes have turned.
Intel on the other hand is struggling to keep up, while they've announced Pentium III 750's and 800's, they're still having a hard time supplying demand for the 733MHz processor. It doesn't help any either when one of your top customers (Gateway) blames their financial results on your inability to supply them with enough CPU's.
As a result, Gateway has decided to power their Select line of PC's with the Athlon processor. For large OEM's such as Compaq and Gateway, you can never have too many lines of supply. In the CPU market, Gateway was tied to one company - Intel. With their relationship with AMD back on, Gateway now has an additional supply option to work with in case the Intel well runs dry again.
The supply battle
In the past, new processor releases from AMD have come with an inability to yield enough high-speed parts to meet demand. To date, this hasn't occurred with the Athlon; and with the new fabrication facility in Dresden online AMD should be able to produce even more Athlon processors this year.
With rumors floating around of Athlons yielding well at 1GHz and even copper Athlons at 1.2GHz, industry observers everywhere are impressed with the rapid turnaround the Athlon processor has provided AMD. All this spells bad news for Intel, once the Goliath of the Industry; Intel is now struggling to stay on top of its game.
Just think, in the CPU market AMD challenges Intel on the low-end with its K6-2 line (Remember Intel's accelerated Celeron release during the first half of last year?) and on the high-end, AMD's Athlon is winning the hearts of journalists, analysts, and (most importantly) OEM's worldwide.
This isn't limited to CPU's either. Motherboards based on VIA's Apollo Pro 133 chipset are becoming more available everyday, creeping in on Intel's BX territory. And with their next chipset (the Apollo Pro 133A) offering competitive features to Intel's 820 chipset at a lower price point, the pressure is only going to continue for the foreseeable future.