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NewsForge: Review: AMD Duron 'Morgan' 1GHz CPU

Aug 25, 2001, 18:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jeff Field)

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"The original Duron, codenamed "Spitfire," is the chip I discuss in the paragraph above. A lot of the information there holds true with the new Duron, codenamed "Morgan." However, AMD made several architectural changes to the Duron, which while not revolutionary increases, do help performance.

The differences between the Morgan and the Spitfire core Durons are as important as the changes between the Thunderbird and the Palomino. First, the Morgan core supports new processor technologies, such as SSE (which AMD calls 3DNow! Professional), which is Intel's on-chip solution targeted at increasing 3D/floating point performance. This means that all software looking for SSE instructions that an Intel chip has will also find them and use them on the Morgan core Durons and Palomino core Athlons.

The other significant change is also present on the new Palomino Athlons, as well as all versions of the Intel Pentium IV. This feature is hardware data pre-fetch. Essentially, what hardware pre-fetch does is similar to how the cache mechanisms on a hard disk work -- the CPU uses an algorithm to try to figure out what data a program will need next, and place that data is in the CPU cache. In certain operations, where data is linear, this can really help increase performance. Such operations would be something like a database, where data might be pulled in sequential order from memory, and therefore easy to predict what will be needed next."

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