Neat: Hardware photographer Fritzchens Fritz recently stumbled across a fascinating Easter egg when examining an Athlon Classic CPU from AMD. When inspecting an Athlon K7 under magnification, Fritz discovered a logo of the state of Texas in one corner, right above a revolver firing a bullet. It is believed the state is a nod to Austin where AMD has some facilities, but the gun could mean anything (perhaps AMD firing a shot at Intel?).
The original K7 Athlon processor arrived in mid-1999 and put AMD on equal footing with rival Intel for the first time. Chipzilla had been dominating for years with its Pentium platform, but that all changed when Athlon hit the scene.
I tried to pinpoint the exact timestamp where the logos are visible in a video published by Fritz but was unable to spot it.
AMD Athlon K7 Pluto Top Metal Layer
A revolver and Texas Map can be found in one of the four corners!
And some explanations about the stone relief. The relief contains the AMD Athlon K7 Series from:
Argon -> Pluto -> Thunderbird -> Palomino -> Thoroughbred -> Barton
– Fritzchens Fritz (@FritzchensFritz) February 5, 2024
The Athlon (Argon core) was built on a 250 nm process and featured 512 KB of L2 cache with a total of 22 million transistors. The first models were cartridge-based, designated Slot A, and proved to be quite overclockable.
My very first enthusiast build was based on an AMD Athlon 500 that I was able to push to 800 MHz utilizing a Golden Fingers overclocking device that plugged directly into a connector on the Slot A PCB. Core voltage for that OC was 1.80, and I had the cache divisor set at ½.
An OC of 300 MHz is child’s play these days, but back then it represented a 60 percent increase in clock speed and all you had to do was plug in a device and adjust some DIP switches. Load temps only increased about six degrees Fahrenheit with the OC and voltage boost.
Related reading: The rise, fall, and revival of AMD
AMD isn’t the first or the last to dabble in silicon, or chip, art. Years ago, Microsoft included a special Easter egg printed on the PCB of the Xbox One. The image depicted Master Chief from the Halo series riding a scorpion, paying homage to the console’s codename, Project Scorpio.