It has been a long three months since AMD said farewell to the Palomino core; what once was a highly anticipated extension of the Athlon processor line quietly faded away as AMD made room for much more exciting microprocessors.

With all of the press that AMD's next-generation architecture has been receiving you'd think that Hammer was a mere few weeks away from its launch. Unfortunately reality sets in and it becomes clear that there is a large gap between now and the end of the year when judgment day begins for AMD's bet on Hammer.

We've provided you with countless roadmaps and other hints to give you an idea of what to expect from the two microprocessor giants over the coming year. Today is a day when one of those boxes on AMD's roadmap is introduced and excitement ensues. Today is the day that AMD's Palomino core gets the boot and is replaced with a thinner, cheaper and cooler running successor - Thoroughbred.

Before you get overly excited about a new Athlon XP core, realize that Thoroughbred offers no tangible performance improvements over the Palomino core. The core is smaller, uses slightly fewer transistors and can run at higher clock speeds because of this. The questions you should be asking yourself are:

1) How much cheaper will the processors be for me?
2) How much further can they be overclocked?
3) How much cooler do they run, and
4) What's compatibility like with current motherboards?

We'll answer every last one of those questions as well as do the usual performance analysis spiel. To lessen hopes a bit more before diving into the review, the Thoroughbred core is currently shipping at no higher than 1.8GHz, only a 66MHz bump over the previous Palomino core. Let's start dissecting…

How does AMD do that voodoo they do so well?
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