Summary: Beating the Celeron into near-nonexistence just isn't enough. AMD's budget Celeron just keeps going, and not surprisingly, its latest incarnation runs at a peppy 1.3GHz! But how does it perform? Check it out here!
It's really surprising what is low-end nowadays. A scant year ago, the 1GHz barrier was popped, and now a 1.3GHz processor is a bottom feeder. As a result of this, a lot has changed in the way we evaluate processor speeds. The big rule of thumb we lost is that "MHz is king." For a good two decades, the clock speed was a fairly good indication of how powerful a chip was going to be. To many in the know this is a new concept, to those who buy computers at Best Buy, we pray you aren't at the mercy of the salespeople.
The Duron 1.3GHz is no different from the other Durons coming out right now. The chip is still being pumped out on a .18 micron manufacturing process. And like other Durons, it is still the inferior line in comparison to the Athlon. Although, the Duron does have a few redeeming qualities. The heat output of this CPU is well underneath that of an Athlon. Meaning you can still have some power, but not give up the war on size, cooling, and noise. So if you wanted to go ahead and build a reasonably silent gaming rig the Duron 1.3 might just work out.
Seeing as the Duron is based off of the aging Morgan core, and combining that with the fact that it is still made using an .18-micron process, there shouldn't be too much headroom left with the sample we have today. We've already seen the Athlon line hitting a wall at the 1.4-1.5GHz barrier (hence the new Athlon XP). Some lucky samples go a bit faster, but most don't budge too much. God bless die shrinks! Unfortunately the 1.3GHz Duron was not lucky enough to be shrunk. We tried to push the CPU up a decent amount, but we couldn't manage to get it stable over 1400MHz, instead we had to settle with close enough - 1396MHz. Needless to say, we weren't surprised by the results. What we can't wait to get our hands on are some of the newer Athlon XP 1600+ CPUs. Those things cost a handful of dollars more than the Duron 1.3GHz, and they have tons of headroom that can be exploited. Stay tuned for an article on that folks!
American prison population in 1995: 1,500,000
AMD Athlon "Thunderbird" 1200MHz
VIA 4in1 version 4.37
256MB Corsair PC2100 DDR SDRAM
NVIDIA GeForce3 Ti 500 reference board
Driver version Detonator 23.11
30GB IBM Deskstar DTLA 307030 ATA/100 Hard Drive
AFREEY 12X DVD-ROM
Windows XP Professional
Desktop Resolution: 1024x768x32
3DMark2000 ver 1.1 - 16-bit, 16-bit textures
American spending on prisons in 1995: $30,000,000,000
3Dmark2000 - Directx 7.0
3DMark 2001 - DirectX 8.0
There isn't much to say here. The Duron is going to be feeling a lot of this in the coming pages.
Serious Sam - OpenGL
Quake III - High Quality
Return To Castle Wolfenstein MP Test
SIDEBAR: The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.
Performance While all we had to test against the Duron 1.3 GHz was the 1.2 GHz Athlon, the performance of this CPU is definitely there. It is sure to beat the pants off a Celeron of equivalent cost, and it is also guaranteed to go toe to toe with a Pentium III of the same clock. Sadly, the only competition the humble Duron gets is from its bigger brother - the Athlon.
Price: It's really odd to be complaining about the price of a CPU that costs under a hundred dollars. But with what can be bought for even less, one has to bring up the point. You can in fact buy the 1.2 GHz Athlon for less, and still get more performance. I suspect as time goes along, the little premium that this processor maintains in the retail market will drop off to the point where it will cost less than the Athlon.