Print 27 comment(s) - last by kenyee.. on Feb 6 at 10:39 PM

AMD "Trevally" block diagram courtesy of Chile Hardware
AMD gets ready to take on Intel's "Santa Rosa" with its next-generation "Trevally" mobile platform

AMD is currently providing partners with its next-generation Trevally mobile reference design for Socket S1 Turion processors. Trevally features AMD’s upcoming RS690T north bridge and new SB700 south-bridge.

In its mobile configuration, the RS690T supports side port and MXM technologies for video upgrades. Notebook manufacturers are able to implement an external frame buffer for the integrated Radeon X700-derived graphics core using the available side port. Manufacturers are free to use 512-mbit DDR2 memory for the external frame buffer.

While the RS690T has an integrated Radeon X700-derived graphics core, it features eight PCIe lanes for an external graphics or greater video output capabilities. The eight PCIe lanes are routable to an MXM-slot for graphics card upgrades. Additionally, the eight PCIe lanes are SDVO compatible in case manufacturers want to implement TV, VGA and DVI outputs. Two PCIe x1 links are available for PCIe Ethernet and ExpressCard on RS690T too.

Connecting to the RS690T IGP-north-bridge via a PCIe x4 interconnect is the new SB700 south-bridge. New features of the SB700 include more USB and SATA 3.0Gbps ports. SB700 increases the amount of supported USB 2.0 ports to 12 from the previous 10. Additionally, two USB 1.1 ports are supported for 14-supported USB ports.  

AMD increased the total amount of SATA 3.0Gbps ports to six with the SB700; the SB600 south-bridge only supports four SATA 3.0Gbps ports. While chipset manufacturers occasionally remove parallel ATA support completely with more SATA ports, AMD has opted to retain parallel ATA support. The Trevally reference platform uses the ATA 66/100/133 interface for a flash memory module, similar to Intel’s Robson technology.

It is unknown when AMD’s Trevally platform will make its appearance, especially since RS690 is still unavailable.

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Sideport Memory
By IntelUser2000 on 2/5/2007 10:14:32 PM , Rating: 1
Latency was never a big problem as bandwidth for graphics. You can see from the "Xpress 200 for A64" review by AT that the dedicated sideport memory+UMA was only few % faster than the UMA-only version. The dedicated sideport one was even slower.

By adding dedicated memory, it contradicts the first point of IGP, lower cost.

RE: Sideport Memory
By ADDAvenger on 2/5/2007 10:54:53 PM , Rating: 3
By adding dedicated memory, it contradicts the first point of IGP, lower cost.

Not if this stuff falls inbetween a standard IGP and discrete graphics in price and performance. Not to mention this would likely be more power efficient than a discrete card, which could (depending on how well it works) be a huge plus to mobile professionals.

RE: Sideport Memory
By IntelUser2000 on 2/5/2007 11:30:52 PM , Rating: 2
Not if this stuff falls inbetween a standard IGP and discrete graphics in price and performance. Not to mention this would likely be more power efficient than a discrete card, which could (depending on how well it works) be a huge plus to mobile professionals.

Initial benchmarks for the elder version of the chipset, the RS600 for desktop shows that it performs like an X300. A standard value discrete video card nowadays is really X1300/7300. That's about to be replaced with G80/R600 based ones very soon. Integrated cards are in their own class.

RE: Sideport Memory
By ADDAvenger on 2/5/2007 11:47:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, this is no replacement if you want discrete graphics, but it could work well if you just want a beefier IGP.

Were those R600 tests done with system memory or this sideslot thing?

RE: Sideport Memory
By ADDAvenger on 2/5/2007 11:48:05 PM , Rating: 2
Shoot, I'll just ask for the link, that'll be quicker than a bunch of questions

RE: Sideport Memory
By IntelUser2000 on 2/5/2007 11:58:49 PM , Rating: 2
Go find out at HKEPC. Sure, it doesn't have the sideport thing, but it won't matter a lot anyway. The first sideport memory offered 1.4GB/s for the faster one, which is less than what single channel DDR200 can offer.

"As we mentioned before, the SidePort memory interface is a single 32-bit channel, which at 350MHz provides 1.4GB/s of bandwidth to the integrated graphics core. At 200MHz SidePort can only provide 800MB/s of bandwidth,"

Seriously, they won't put 2GHz 32-bit memory or something like that for sideport. This is mainly for power consumption.

RE: Sideport Memory
By heffeque on 2/6/2007 11:26:50 AM , Rating: 2
Anything is better than those crappy Intel integrated graphics. It's good to see that integrated graphics doesn't mean crappy anymore, it just means 'slow'.

RE: Sideport Memory
By Goty on 2/5/2007 10:54:57 PM , Rating: 2
Well, IGPs are also supposed to be lower power solutions, which I would think would be the main aim for a mobile chipset over cost.

RE: Sideport Memory
By JimFear on 2/6/2007 7:06:07 AM , Rating: 3
I believe the Frame Buffer is put in place to enable the laptop to go into an extreme low power state. As the memory controller is built in to the CPU it can never be turned off because the graphics chipset would lose access to memory and throw a hissy fit, but having its own frame buffer the CPU can go into a low power/idle state without problems.

Someone please correct me if i'm wrong but thats what I understood of it.

end of Feb?
By kenyee on 2/5/2007 6:56:32 PM , Rating: 2
The RS690 would have been released back in Nov if ATI were still independent :-P

Last rumor I heard was end of February. Hope so..I've been holding off on a laptop upgrade and waiting for this chipset to be released...

RE: end of Feb?
By outsider on 2/5/07, Rating: 0
RE: end of Feb?
By mino on 2/6/2007 10:19:06 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, it is.

But what did you intend to say by this post ?

RE: end of Feb?
By Mojo the Monkey on 2/6/2007 1:13:13 PM , Rating: 2
Because the chipset is the most important part of a laptop.

yeah, I hope that wasn't sarcasm. Improvements in the chipset have HUGE implications for everything from power consumption to future upgradability (mentioned directly in the article).

RE: end of Feb?
By outsider on 2/6/2007 5:19:29 PM , Rating: 2
First things first:
1. The chipset has almost influence on power consumption.
2. Future upgradebility does not count in laptops. You cannot replace a dual core with a quad core in a notebook because of heat and higher power draw.

Thats because are because today's chipsets are already excellent and with very little room for improvement. The article is an english-to-english translation of a press release. What do you expect them to say?

and second things second:
3. The graphics on the notebook are on the same class of my 3 years old Radeon 9600 (the X700 on the RS690 has half the pipes), so gaming is still out of question.
4. Much more important on a notebook are the CPU, GPU and hard-drive. And if you want a top-of-the-line notebook you should aim for a BluRay or HDDVD drive. IMO it makes much more sense to wait for:

1. 65nm (or quad core, if you haven't yet realized that life ends and you should try to live it).
2. cheap Radeon 1950-class GPU or DirectX10 GPU.
3. cheap solid-state drives or chipsets with hard drive chaching.
4. cheaper HD players or even recorders.
5. cheaper higher-res screens.

Almost all elements of the wish-list contained the word cheaper because not even a miracle can make AMD match Centrino with a chipset change (this comes from an AMD fanboy, me). So people already have a great alternative, they just can wait for a cheaper one from AMD.

If you realize that you have a life to live and decide not to wait for any of the above-mentioned components, why for life's sake do you want to wait for a chipset? What was this chipset that took an average platform and raised to to new heights?

RE: end of Feb?
By outsider on 2/6/2007 5:20:57 PM , Rating: 2
(almost NO influence)* - I was going to delete "almost" and I ended up deleting "no"

RE: end of Feb?
By kenyee on 2/6/2007 10:39:35 PM , Rating: 2
- cpu can go into deeper sleep because the RS690 handles memory refresh...should mean longer battery life
- roughly twice the speed of the 6150 chipset
- MXM support so hopefully laptop makers can pair this low power IGP w/ a faster GPU
- HDMI/HDCP output (this is more important for HTPC folks and hopefully the RS690 has enough juice to push 1080p since the 6150 could only barely do 720p and 1080i)

And yes, the Core2Duo spanks the Turion all over the place but the Turion has $100 price advantage...

Side Slot for memory
By ADDAvenger on 2/5/2007 8:05:56 PM , Rating: 2
Any news/rumors on what this will cost and how it will perform? It's not just another port for standard DDR2 is it?

I've never heard of this until now, but if it works well and is cheap I'll seriously look into it when I get rid of my current laptop. (By cheap I mean about fifty bucks for a 256 stick.)

RE: Side Slot for memory
By lplatypus on 2/5/2007 8:24:26 PM , Rating: 2
That side slot is for dedicated graphics memory for the x700-based GPU which is integrated into the RS690T chip. It's not for normal system memory. It's labelled "512Mbit" which I presume means that it only takes 64Mb of memory.

Until now, integrated graphics has used part of the normal system memory. This is slow because the GPU competes with the CPU for memory bandwidth, and slower still on AMD platforms where the memory controller is integrated into the CPU instead of the northbridge.

RE: Side Slot for memory
By ADDAvenger on 2/5/2007 10:50:35 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah I knew all that, that's why I find it interesting. I don't want to pay for discrete graphics and lose battery life, but I'd love for my laptop's graphics to go obsolete (ie unusable for even Chicken Invaders 3 type stuff) maybe a year later than it otherwise would.

512Mb is 64MB, yes, but that's for each chip, a normal stick of memory has four or eight such chips, that's where I got 256MB from.

By Brainonska511 on 2/5/2007 8:22:22 PM , Rating: 2
Why only PCI-Ex8? Is it the 2.0 standard so that it will have the same bandwidth as PCI-Ex16 1.1 or is it just because GPUs still don't even use up the x8 bandwidth?

RE: ?
By mjz on 2/5/2007 8:34:22 PM , Rating: 2
laptop video cards wont need that much bandwidth anyhow

RE: ?
By Anh Huynh on 2/5/2007 9:03:36 PM , Rating: 2
It's only PCIe x8 because the RS690T has an integrated graphics core, manufacturer's will most likely use the PCIe x8/SVDO link to implement TV, VGA and DVI outputs.

By Goty on 2/5/2007 9:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
If this is supposed to be a mobile chipset, what do you need with six SATA channels?

By Brainonska511 on 2/5/2007 11:41:00 PM , Rating: 2
It supports, it doesn't have to use all 6. You could see it as a SATA optical drive, SATA hdd, and an e-SATA port or two.

By zombiexl on 2/6/2007 10:13:26 AM , Rating: 2
Plus some newer laptops include more than one HD..

By raven3x7 on 2/5/2007 6:31:49 PM , Rating: 2
The SB700 wasn't supposed to be coming out until at least the 3Q. Thats a very pleasant surprise. I hope they put that SB on the Desktop variants as well. That would be the end of my NF5 mobo. It also looks like AMD will have superior graphics compared to Intel laptops. If they have kept power consumption down i believe they have a winner with this particular platform. Having both a better GPU and better battery life(which they do right now) could win them a lot of customers.

RE: Interesting
By jak3676 on 2/6/2007 11:53:28 AM , Rating: 2
They already have superior IGP's when compared to Intel. GMA 950 looks similar to ATI 200M on paper, but 200M outperforms it nicely in games. x1100/x1150 or Nvida 6150 is just one more step up.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein
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