The US-based chipmaker will begin shipping a Palomino-based 1.5GHz Athlon this quarter, said company spokesman Ward Tisdale. The Palomino core features several improvements on AMD's Thunderbird core, including SSE (Streaming Single Instruction-Multiple Data Extensions) instruction support, data pre-fetching and improved power management functions.
Kevin Krewell, a senior analyst with MicroDesign Resources, said: "The Athlon 1.5 will be very comparable to [Intel's] Pentium 4 in the 1.9 to 2GHz range.
"Palomino is a nice improvement over Thunderbird. There's enough bump in performance that it's a worthwhile part." he added
The Palomino core will feature SSE instructions, which will help performance, and data pre-fetching, which brings data into the memory cache before the processor needs it, Krewell said.
Power management is becoming a challenge in the current Thunderbird core, where it is becoming difficult to raise the frequency without increasing power consumption, Krewell said. The fastest Athlon processor that AMD currently offers on the desktop is 1.4GHz.