Price: $318 (AMD website)

Thanks to for supplying us with the Tbird 1.3GHz CPU!


Everybody has to agree with me if I say that AMD manages to get themselves in the news every day these days. If it's not with the release of a new AMD CPU or a review of an AMD760-based motherboard, it has to be with something else, but they always manage to get mentioned in the webnews of all major hardware websites for some reason. Is that a bad thing? Well, certainly not, but I have to start my introduction with something huh! Things sure were different for AMD in the past. Have you forgotten that we were all excited for the release of the new Celeron CPU from Intel around April last year instead of an AMD CPU this April. Man ... how things have changed!

With the release of VIA's KT133A chipset, the upcoming VIA KT266 DDR solution and other DDR chipsets like the AMD760, ALi MaGiK 1, etc. which fully support a 133Mhz DDR FSB for AMD Athlon/Duron CPUs, the demand for 133MHz AMD CPUs just gets bigger and bigger by the day. AMD's answer to this demand was the release of the so-called Athlon-C CPUs a while ago, meaning that they feature lower multipliers and use the 133MHz DDR FSB.

A couple of weeks ago, AMD launched two new Athlons based on the good old Thunderbird core, the 1.30GHz and 1.33GHz Athlons. OCOnline managed to get both of these babies in the testlab and today we're bringing you a review of the "slowest" one, the 1.3GHz Athlon CPU. Hehe, "slow" ... LOLz :)

But heeeeey wait ... Thunderbird over here, Thunderbird over there but where's that damn Palomino? Well, before we answer that question, we'll first have a look at the AMD CPU roadmap as can be found on the AMD website :

The Palomino will be the enhanced version of the current AMD Athlon Tbird processor designed to enable higher frequencies, lower power consumption and support for mobile features. Palomino CPUs will sport SMP what makes the CPU also extremely interesting for servers and thanks to the low power consumption, it's also suited for the mobile market. So when can we expect the Palominos? Well, according to the roadmap and some inside AMD rumours, we will be able to catch the first Palomino glimps around June. What do we conclude out of all this ... In six months, the AMD Palomino CPUs will be the most interesting choice for everyone, no?

I don't know about you, but I've had enough of this boring introduction, let's continue with the specs ...


  • 1300MHz (or 1.3GHz) stock speed

  • 13x multiplier

  • 100MHz DDR FSB

  • 128kB on-die L1 cache

  • 256kB on-die L2 cache

  • 37 million transistors on 120 mm� die space

  • 0.18� process technology

  • 462-pin socket A design

  • 1.75v core voltage

Specs In Detail

The AMD Athlon 1.3GHz CPU contains approximately 37 million transistors with a die size of 120 mm�. That's 12 million more than the value AMD Duron CPUs. The CPU is manufactured using a 0.18� process technology at AMD's Fab25 (Austin) and Fab30 (Dresden) fabrication facilities. Oh yeah, did I mention that the new Athlons still use the Socket A form factor? NO? Well, now I did.

The AMD Athlon processor features a total of 384Kb on-die cache running at core speed that consists of 128Kb on-die L1 cache and 256Kb on-die L2 cache. Compared to the Duron CPUs, that's twice the amount of on-die cache!! This 384Kb of on-die cache gives the CPU a nice overall performance boast compared to other CPUs running at similar speeds.

The AMD Athlon 1.3GHz CPU contains a total of nine execution pipelines: three for address calculations, three for integer calculations (maths), and three for executing floating point, 3DNow! and MMX instructions.

Just like all the Durons, this CPU also uses a 100Mhz DDR FSB (effectively 200Mhz). The CPU we received is AXHA stepping, which is a slightly older stepping than the AXIA stepping that is very popular at the moment. How good/bad the AXHA stepping 1.3GHz Athlon performs, you'll find out when we arrive at the tests ...


Installing this Athlon CPU is as easy as beating up a 90-year old grandma (I do NOT in any way have experience with such a beating up process however!). The procedure is actually still the same as it has always been with every Socket A CPU. Don't even bother on pencilling the L1 bridges anymore, because all Athlon Tbirds from 1200MHz and above are shipped with an unlocked multiplier :). You just have to pull up the lever on the socket and put the CPU in its cage. Then you should lower the lever back down and the CPU should be secured. That's all it takes actually ... now don't you say that's not easy!

Of course, you musn't forget to provide this CPU with some active cooling. I'd like to mention once more that this part is extremely tricky if you're using an AMD CPU because these CPUs have a core that is extremely fragile! You can run over a P3 CPU with a truck without killing it, but things are a different with the AMD CPUs. We have already killed 3 Durons by not being careful enough! To reduce that risk of crushing the core, using copper shims or copper plates is really no luxury. I mean it guys, these shims are 100% worth their money. So if you're using a copper shim, first put it on the top of the CPU that you've already installed into the socket, then rub some thermal paste in the CPU's face and put on the cooler of your choice. If you've followed these easy steps correctly, the CPU and cooler should be in place and ready to be tortured.

Now that you guys know how to install this CPU onto your motherboard, we're al set to begin the most interesting part ... overclocking!


Like I told you already, the L1 bridges on this CPU are already connected. What does this mean? Well, it means that all Athlon Tbirds with a CPU speed of 1200MHz (1.2GHz) and above are shipped with the multiplier unlocked, so don't bother pencilling the L1-bridges anymore, AMD has already done this for you :)

On thing I gotta tell you, is that, with a maximum thermal dissipation of no less than 71W, this 1.3GHz Athlon generates A LOT of heat even when running at stock speed. And because we don't want the cooling to act as a bottleneck here, I decided to keep the temperature on this baby down to a minimum by using a Vantec FCE 62540D sporting the 60mm Delta Fan blowing about 38CFM of air. This high performance cooler is reviewed in our major Socket A cooler shoutout that will be online sometime next week.

After doing some experimenting with all kinds of different multiplier & FSB settings, I found this CPU to be stable at 1470Mhz (or 1.47GHz) using a multiplier of 10x, the FSB set to 147Mhz and a core voltage of 1.85v. I even did some more testing to check if the CPU couldn't be kept stable if I pushed the CPU speed even further but I found out that this CPU cannot handle this kind of torturing because I had 2 major crashes by attemping to reach the 1.5GHz barrier :(

I've been using this CPU for weeks now and it appears to be 150% stable @ 1470MHz on my Abit KT7A-RAID motherboard with a core voltage of 1.85v (max. Vcore of the KT7A-RAID). I also had to put the I/O voltage to 3.90v to avoide crashes caused by the RAM. The system is currently running non-stop for almost 24 houres without a single crash, even after doing long, hard 3DMark2001 loops and continious RC5 torturing. Considering the fact that this 1.3GHz Athlon generates a major amount of heat under full load and when overclocked to 1.47GHz, the Vantec HSF manages to cool the CPU down to 47� Celcius. Not exactly cool, but acceptable ... man, we're are moving @ 1.47GHz with a 1.85v Vcore ... don't forget that!

Let's head on to the benchies ...


Test system :

- AOpen HQ45 case
- AMD Athlon 1.3Ghz
- Vantec FCE 62540D (cooling)
- Abit KT7A-RAID (WZ bios)
- 128MB OCZ Value RAM
- Elsa Gladiac 920 (GeForce 3 + deto 12.00)
- Western Digital 45GB UDMA100 7200rpm hard drive

Sisoft Sandra Pro

CPU Benchmark

Here are the results from Sandra's CPU benchmark. Why did I overclock the Tbird to 1430MHz instead of 'just' 1400MHz ... that would be easier, wouldn't it? Well, the reason why I chose to go with 1430MHz is because this way every AMD test is done with the same 143MHz FSB speed (except for the 144MHz FSB on the Tbird 1.3GHz test (9x144MHz)) I also threw in some Intel CPU scores and a Duron @ 1GHz (7x143MHz) score for comparison. Jees, can you believe that? Look and see that Tbird performe !!

Multimedia CPU Benchmark

The figures again speak for themselves ... The Athlon 1.3GHz beats the hell out of the competition. Bye bye Intel! Not even a P4 1.5GHz can keep up with this bad boy!

Memory Benchmark

The memory scores are almost the same in every test because I tried to keep the FSB speeds as close together as possible (143MHz - 144MHz).

CPU Mark 99

FPU Mark 99

Again, I want you to witness to true power of the Athlon ... RAW POWER!


Hmmm ... 3DMark2k1 obviously isn't as impressed by all this Athlon power as me. Is the GeForce 3 already maxed out on an Athlon 1.3GHz? Well, it looks like it is huh folks :-) Expect a review of the Elsa Gladiac 920 GeForce 3 with more benchmarks by the end of next week.


- Stable overclocking!
- Outperforms the Intel P4
- Much cheaper than the Intel P4
- Price/performance ratio


- 71W Thermal Dissipation, now that's a lot of heat
- Requires a medium/high performance HSF
- Tim got the AXIA 1.33GHz model instead of me :(


It seems to me that AMD has AGAIN released a winner with this Athlon 1.3GHz CPU. Too bad for me I didn't receive an AXIA stepping CPU, but I think I can't complain with an 170MHz overclock to 1470MHz (or 1.47GHz). If Pentium 4 solutions remain too expensive like they are now, there's no doubt about which manufacturer you should choose if you want a very high performance CPU ... clearly AMD and their Athlon Tbird CPUs! These CPUs performs like real champs and didn't give us any hickups during the tests. Like our tests have proven, this CPU passes the 1.4Ghz barrier with the utmost ease. In fact, the Athlon 1.3GHz AXHA stepping proved itself to be rockstable @ 1470Mhz ... Steady as she goes!

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