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AMD Athlon (Thunderbird) Whitepaper
Date: Sunday June 04, 2000
Category: Press Release
Manufacturer Link: AMD Discus -- BBS
The AMD Athlon (Thunderbird) whitepapers include in depth technical information on the new processor.
Application Optimizations and Infrastructure

Leading-Edge Floating Point and 3D Multimedia Technology 

The AMD-K7AMD Athlon processor offers the most powerful, and architecturally advanced floating pointfloating point capability engine ever delivered in an x86 microprocessor. The AMD-K7AMD Athlon processor's three3-issue, superscalar floating point capability is based on three pipelined, out-of-order floating pointfloating point execution units, each with a 1-cycle throughput. The AMD-K7AMD Athlon processor's floating point engine offers twice the peak x87 floating point computation rate and three times the peak floating point instruction the peak execution rate of the Pentium III processor, and its FP performance rivals that of many RISC processors currently used in high-performance workstations and servers. (For more details, see the "AMD Athlon Processor Floating Point Capability" white paper. 

The three execution units (Fmul, Fadd, and Fstore) in the AMD Athlon processor's floating point pipeline handle alle AMD-K7 processor executes x87 (floating point) instructions, MMX instructions, and Enhanced enhanced 3DNow! instructions in the three floating point unit pipelines. Using a data format and single-instruction multiple-data (SIMD) operations based on the MMX instruction model, the AMD-K7AMD Athlon processor can deliver as many as four 32-bit, single-precision floating point results per clock cycle, resulting in a peak performance of 4.0 two Gigaflops at 1000 MHz.

The AMD Athlon processor includes an enhanced version of 3DNow! technology designed to take 3D multimedia performance to new heights. The enhanced 3DNow! technology implemented in the AMD Athlon processor includes AMD's original 21 3DNow! instructions (the industry's first x86 instruction set to use superscalar SIMD floating point techniques to accelerate 3D performance), as well as the following 24 new instructions: 

12 instructions that improve multimedia-enhanced integer math calculations used in such applications as speech recognition and video processing 

7 instructions that accelerate data movement for more detailed graphics and new functionality for Internet browser plug-ins and other streaming applications, enabling a richer Internet experience

5 DSP instructions that enhance the performance of communications applications, including soft modems, soft ADSL, MP3, and Dolby Digital surround sound processing. This DSP functionality is unique to the AMD Athlon processor and not supported by Intel's Pentium III processor.

2.4 Gflops

In addition, the Enhanced 3DNow! technology includes new integer and multimedia instructions, a new instruction that enables data prefetching under software control, and a faster enter/exit multimedia-state instruction.In enhancing 3DNow! technology, AMD kept the instruction set design simple, yet powerful. AMD's goal in designing the new 3DNow! instructions was to provide powerful SIMD performance while enabling ease of implementation for software developers. The relatively few instructions of enhanced 3DNow! technology allow developers to adopt this technology and optimize their applications quickly. (See the "Enhanced 3DNow! Technology for the AMD Athlon Processor" white paper for more details.)

The AMD Athlon processor's superscalar floating point engine can significantly boost the performance of FP-intensive applications for desktop systems and workstations. Applications that have been optimized for enhanced 3DNow! technology will run even faster on AMD Athlon processor-based platforms. Performance benefits include higher resolution at the same frame rates or higher frame rates for digital video or action games, higher-quality digital video, more realistic 3D sound, and a richer Web experience. Examples of applications that stand to benefit from the leading-edge floating point and 3D multimedia processing capabilities of the AMD Athlon processor include:

Advanced imaging software for processing digital imaging

Enhanced Internet browsing using next-generation browser features

Architectural 3D rendering systems

CAD/CAE software packages

Near real-time MPEG-2 video encoding/editing for higher quality video 

Speech recognition in Web browsing and word processing

Financial modeling and trading software

Realistic 3D software, including 3D games and flight simulators.

Socket A/Slot A Infrastructure Support

The AMD Athlon processor is designed to enable high-performance computing solutions for desktop, workstation, and server configurations. The Socket A or Slot A infrastructure designed for the AMD Athlon processor is based on optimized, high-performance platforms. As a result, systems built using the AMD Athlon processor can use common system-level mechanical components, as well as system assembly techniques. AMD Athlon processor-based systems also can use all available cases, heatsinks, fans, and other basic system components.

AMD and its development partners are delivering a full line of optimized infrastructure products (chipsets, motherboards, drivers, and BIOS) that support the AMD Athlon processor. To provide the initial infrastructure for AMD Athlon processor-based platforms, AMD has developed the AMD-750T chipset, a complete system logic solution featuring system and peripheral bus controllers designed to deliver enhanced performance for the AMD Athlon processor. Major third-party chipset suppliers, including VIA Technologies, Acer Laboratories Inc. (ALi), and SiS are delivering high-performance chipsets optimized for AMD Athlon processors.

Optimized BIOS support for the AMD Athlon processors is available by leading third-party suppliers, including American Megatrends, Inc., Award Software International, and Phoenix Technologies. All major motherboard vendors provide production availability of high-quality, high-performance motherboards. With AMD's release of the AMD Athlon processor reference logic board design and chipset to infrastructure partners, AMD has set the stage for high-volume, cost-effective production of Socket A or Slot A infrastructure based on the 200MHz AMD Athlon processor system bus.

Previous Next

Page 1: AMD Athlon (Thunderbird) Whitepaper
Page 2: Processor Architecture Diagram and Summary
Page 3: High Performance Cache Design
Page 4: 200MHz System Bus
Page 6: Summary and AMD Overview

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   11 / 22 / 2019 | 9:59AM
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