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AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ engineering sample.  (Source: HKEPC, John Lam)
Wait for it, wait for it ... one more AMD "Windsor" on the way

The introduction of the 89W AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ was to be the last 90nm dual-core desktop processor in AMD's arsenel.  However a newest Windsor processor, not on AMD's roadmap, is starting to make the rounds. 

The 89W AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ started making the rounds in South East Asia this week.  The chip, expected to launch this September, will ship before AMD launches the 65nm native quad-core Phenom processors based on the Agena core.

HKEPC and sources close to AMD claim the chip runs at 3.2 GHz and will sell for approximately $240 in quantities of 1,000.  Like other Windsor offerings, the X2 6400+ is a dual-core 90nm processor. 

Existing motherboards are compatible with the X2 6400+; however all but the newest motherboard will need a BIOS upgrade to recognize the 16x front-side bus multiplier.

AMD's most recent roadmap claims the quad-core Agena is expected to launch in a "November / December" timeframe. 


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Oh yay.
By HaZaRd2K6 on 8/5/2007 6:13:35 PM , Rating: 2
[Slightly long post warning]

As much as I've always been an AMD fan (and continue to be for their lower-power chips), there's two things I see AMD needing to do to win more market share:

First, stay with one socket for more than 18 months. I got stuck with a S939 board thinking it was going to be around for a while, and then AM2 came along. AM2+ and AM3 are on the way as well. While Intel's gone through only one socket (775), AMD's been through 940, 754, 939 and AM2 (and that's not including Socket 1207/F); and

Second, be more up-front with CPU releases. Yes, I understand that they want to squeak as much out of Windsor as possible, but introducing the 6000+ as a lower-power part and then replacing it only months before a new top-end CPU is due to arrive is a strange move on their part. Granted, I'm not AMD so I don't know the reasoning behind the choice; it may be very good reasoning.

If AMD can do that for me, then I won't be moving to an Intel platform. But as it stands now, Intel boards and parts seem to last longer. People come into to where I work every day and have old 775 boards that they can drop a C2D in with just a BIOS update. Me? I've got nothing. eBay is my last hope for upgrading my CPU. If they can convince me to stay with them, then I will. But right now, Intel looks mighty tempting.




RE: Oh yay.
By KeypoX on 8/5/2007 10:56:12 PM , Rating: 2
Is this true? I have had an amd 939 and not payed to much attention to Intel chipsets

I did just upgrade to a C2D though its night and day from my 3500 to my 6400 @ 3ghz


RE: Oh yay.
By Flunk on 8/6/2007 12:08:52 AM , Rating: 4
There really is little reason to buy AMD on the high end now. I just upgraded from a Athlon XP 2500+ to a Core 2 Quad Q6600 (my first Intel chip in 9 years) and I'm really enjoying it. AMD really doesn't have any competition in the high end right now (although midrange and value are where the money is made).


RE: Oh yay.
By emboss on 8/6/2007 5:37:40 AM , Rating: 3
Although Intel has continued to use the same physical socket, you can't take a Core 2 and put it in a first-revision S775 motherboard.

If you're going to go back to S754 on the AMD side, then on the Intel side you've got to go back to the final S478 revision (800 MHz FSB with FMB 1.5 or later), which was followed by the 800MHz FSB S775, the 800 MHz Core-2 compatible S775, the 1066 MHz FSB S775, and now the 1333 MHz S775, a total of 5 different sockets. AMD has only been through S754, S939, and AM2 (ignoring the server sockets on both sides). This is from late 2003 to today, so 4 years give or take.

On the server side it's also tilted towards AMD - you've only had S940 and S1207, compared to the Nocona-S604, Dempsey-S771, and Woodcrest-S771 (I'm ignoring Paxville-S604 since it wasn't very widespread).

Finally, with AMD, if you can physically fit a chip into the socket, it'll work. With Intel, it's quite possible that you can physically fit the chip, but it'll either work at a reduced speed or not work at all.

I enjoyed the long lifetime of Socket A, but at the same time I can't say I really did that many CPU-only upgrades. Most of the time I wanted to upgrade the motherboard as well to take advantage of a faster FSB, dual-channel RAM, etc. I'm not expecting to do much of a CPU-only upgrade on my Q6600 system either. Sure, it'd be nice to be able to drop an 3.5 GHz 8-core CPU into the system in 12-18 months or so, but by that time I'd also be looking to jump to DDR3.


RE: Oh yay.
By James Holden on 8/6/2007 6:42:00 AM , Rating: 2
How do you flash the BIOS on an AMD board to recognize a new AMD CPU if the board won't post because it doesn't recognize your new CPU?


RE: Oh yay.
By emboss on 8/6/2007 7:57:59 AM , Rating: 3
The same way you do it for an Intel board: either use a CPU you already have, borrow a CPU, take it back to the shop (or send it back to the manufacturer) and have them do it, or fire off a support request to the manufacturer to get an updated BIOS chip shipped out.

You've got to be a bit unlucky to have this problem though. Most board manufacturers have any BIOS issues (if any - even the rev E. issues only affected a small number of boards with poorly written and non-standard-compliant BIOSes) sorted out prior to the CPUs hit retail, and as a result there's only a very small window during which you can buy a board with the old BIOS and also the new CPUs. Not to mention I wouldn't classify this as the board not fully supporting the CPU - updating the BIOS is easy, whereas there's no way to make a non FMB 1.5 motherboard run a Prescott (for example).


RE: Oh yay.
By bohhad on 8/6/2007 10:04:55 AM , Rating: 2
nice posts emboss


RE: Oh yay.
By Performance Fanboi on 8/6/2007 2:26:24 PM , Rating: 2
Most boards would boot just fine using the highest available multiplier (in the bios) effectively underclocking the CPU - you would then update the bios using normal means to add the higher multi. Not a big deal really.


RE: Oh yay.
By iFX on 8/6/2007 3:58:38 PM , Rating: 3
I'm still on S939 with an FX-60 # 3.0 Ghz. I am a happy camper, I'll have my system for two more years anyway so any socket changes that happen between now and then are irrelivent to me.


RE: Oh yay.
By JimFear on 8/7/2007 9:48:45 AM , Rating: 2
Dont forget though, Intel, despite only having one socket, CPU support from a chipset point of view hasn't been great either.


high price
By intelcpu on 8/5/2007 8:06:32 PM , Rating: 2
240 USD is way too much. I hope they will offer something better soon to keep the competition alive. Other ways its not good for the whole CPU market.




RE: high price
By iFX on 8/6/2007 5:17:12 PM , Rating: 1
Why is it too much? You can get a 6000+ for $170 which runs at 3.0 GHz. If your cheap go with one of those.


RE: high price
By Treckin on 8/7/2007 2:32:34 AM , Rating: 2
IMHO this is just to say that they have SOMETHING running at 3.2 ghz... People in the largest customer bracket [largest by FAR] dont have any clue as to what they buy, and give much credence to marketing numbers. Your average Joe has NO clue what the difference between a dual core and single core is, and the 3.2 is the fastest proc on the market in terms of raw Ghz. I believe its a multi-pronged strategy including an effort to rid themselves of inventory, create renewed interest in AMD etc...

The real question is "Why not?"


Good decision
By rhog on 8/7/2007 11:37:44 AM , Rating: 4
I believe that AMD made a good decision releasing this processor and this decision was made very carefully I am sure.

As with my other comment I will get a -1 again I am sure for taking AMD's side. I have bought many CPUs (call it an addiction) and I own CPUs from both Intel and AMD. And this is what I have found out in my day to day usage of these CPUs. In regards to the X26000+ and E6600 they perform the same. What AMD needed was a CPU to compete with the new E6750 (2.66ghz/1333mhz) as the X26000+ did not fair well against this CPU. With the X26400+ AMD will have a CPU with performances that is within striking distance of the E6750 and thus AMD can stay competitive in the Mid-Range and this is the area where most CPUs are purchased. This was a good decision by AMD and this is why they have increased their market share by roughly 5% in the 2nd quarter. I will buy the X26400+ when it comes out and I will get the E6750 soon. It will be interesting to see how the two compare in the real world.

Just in case you think I am only on AMDs side I have just purchased a Q6600 (from Newegg for 314.00 mind you, where are the Sub $300 prices on the major sites?) and I am looking forward to trying this out as well.




leftover wafers anyone?
By Armorize on 8/5/2007 6:29:18 PM , Rating: 2
This is just speculation but could they just be burning up the last of their already produced wafers or something? some diehard amd fan might possibly want this so they can complete their collection of amd chips to put in a display case or something maybe?

Another reason could be to just squeeze some extra dollars out of people to help them fund the phenom as well. call me crazy.




RE: leftover wafers anyone?
By iFX on 8/6/2007 5:10:22 PM , Rating: 1
That doesn't sound far fetched to me. We already know the 6000+ will hit 3.4 GHz with little effort, and AMD knows that also. I think they are clocking up what they have left.


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