The AMD Athlon was designed to compete directly
with the fastest Intel Pentium III
processors. The AMD K6-2 was known for having poor
FPU (floating point unit) performance compared to Intel's processors of
comparable speed. That changed with the
Athlon, which has an improved FPU that performs equal to, or even better than,
comparable Intel-based processors. The AMD Athlon processor also has an enhanced
version of AMD's 3DNow! Technology.
The original Athlon uses the same Single Edge Contact Cartridge (SECC) design as the Pentium II, however, is not compatible with Slot 1 system boards. Newer versions of the Athlon use a socket-based processor design called Socket A. These newer processors include an improved Level 2 cache and reach higher clock speeds than the older Athlon processors. Athlon-based system use a 200MHz or a 266MHz system bus.