Print 42 comment(s) - last by boogle.. on Jun 21 at 8:01 AM

  (Source: HEXUS)
AMD has a new chip in the works to tackle the MID/netbook market

Intel and AMD have been fierce rivals for many years. Intel almost always had the upper hand over AMD until the launch of AMD's K8 architecture which saw the Sunnyvale, California-based company basking in the spotlight (and in enthusiast praise). Intel shoved AMD into the backseat with the launch of its Core architecture and AMD has been pretty much stuck in that position ever since.

While AMD may be having problems tackling Intel in the high-end desktop and notebook markets, the company is looking to go toe-to-toe with Intel in the emerging Mobile Internet Device (MID) and netbooks/nettop market. Intel is currently having a lot of success with its Atom processor which will be in short supply until the end of Q3 2008.

AMD is countering with a low-power AMD64-based CPU design of its own according to leaked slides obtained by Eee PC News. The unnamed processor features an integrated memory controller, 16-lane 800MHz HyperTransport link, 256KB of L2 cache, and a 1GHz core clock.

Considering that this new chip is to be used in low-power applications, power consumption is a critical talking point. Intel's Atom N270 -- the most popular Atom variant for netbooks -- features a 2.5W TDP at 1.6GHz. However, we can't forget the i945GSE Northbridge which adds another 4W -- more than the Atom processor itself.

AMD’s new processor, however, has an 8W TDP for the processor with its integrated Northbridge/memory controller at 1.0GHz. Although performance figures obviously aren't available at this time, it would be interesting to see how AMD's 1.0GHz processor would do against Intel's in-order 1.6GHz Atom N270.

Intel and AMD have both been in the news in recent weeks -- mostly for squabbles between the two companies. Intel recently got slapped with a $25M fine for anticompetitive practices in South Korea. Shortly after, the Federal Trade Commission opened up a formal investigation into allegations of anticompetitive behavior in the U.S. market.

Finally, AMD and NVIDIA have taken Intel to task over its refusal to release specifications on its open host controller for USB 3.0. Intel countered that it would provide the details once the spec is finished and that the company had invested “gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours” in developing the open host controller.

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RE: I think we can see where this is going.
By esgreat on 6/18/2008 1:32:12 AM , Rating: 2
I think you forgot that AMD needs an extra Southbridge AND a GPU. Intel's 2.5W+4W configuration is inclusive of memory controller, graphics, PCIe, USB, IDE.

Atom area: 14mm x 13mm = 182mm2
SCH chipset: 22mm x 22mm = 484mm2
Total = 666mm2

AMD CPU: 27mm x 27mm = 729mm2

Intel's CPU+chipset footprint is smaller than just the AMD cpu! This isn't including AMD's southbridge and graphics.

RE: I think we can see where this is going.
By zpdixon on 6/18/2008 2:36:28 AM , Rating: 2
Actually we are both wrong.

Yes, AMD will need a southbridge, but it will most likely include a GPU, like their current AMD 700 series integrated graphics chipset family.

Also, the area you quote for the Atom is wrong. 182 mm² represents the die area, not the package area. The Atom Silverthorne µFCBGA package is 25 mm x 25 mm = 625 mm².

This gives:
- Intel: Atom 625 mm² + SCH 484 mm² = 1109 mm² .
- AMD: CPU 729 mm² + (southbridge+GPU) 300-500? mm² = 1029-1229? mm²

Looks like neither Intel nor AMD is going to have a significant space advantage.

RE: I think we can see where this is going.
By esgreat on 6/18/2008 4:12:41 AM , Rating: 2
Are you sure?

Take a look at Anand's report:

...the die size is only 25mm2. The package size is indeed 14mm x 13mm...and can be verified by comparing it with a penny.

By zpdixon on 6/18/2008 7:40:13 AM , Rating: 2
You and I are talking about different things:

- Atom 2xx series and N2xx series "Diamondville": package is 22 x 22 mm (not 25 x 25 as I claimed). Source:
- Atom Z5xx series "Silverthorne": package size is 13 x 14 mm.

As explained in the Dailytech article, the AMD CPU is designed to compete against Diamondville. So it doesn't make sense to compare it against Silverthorne.

However it also means that AMD will not, initially, attempts to compete against Silverthorne.

See also

By esgreat on 6/18/2008 9:28:03 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks for clarifying. Yeah, Diamondville is larger. However your post specifically mentioned Atom Silverthorne, hence my reply. Should be a typo then :-).

Anyway, since point #2 was about size/form factor, you'll need to compare with the product that meets this criterion. Of course, I'm assuming that performance isn't so much of a concern in the very small form factor space.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates

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