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AMD is aiming for markets looking for more performance than the Intel Atom

AMD is hard at work introducing new processors to try to capture market share from Intel. Earlier this week, slides showing some new AMD processors coming this year surfaced. Among the new processors on the slide was a line AMD is calling Ultra-Value Client (UVC).

The UVC processors will be available through OEMs only. More information on the line of UVC processors has now surfaced at The new slides show that the UVC processors are intended to allow OEMs to produce new computers in form factors optimized for emerging markets and basic PC usage.

AMD does specify that the UVC products are aimed at more than the netbook market and can deliver traditional PC performance. The UVC processors are intended to be paired with AMD's 690 and 740 chipsets for high-quality visuals.

All UVC parts will use AMD's standard socket AM2 and S1g1 notebook infrastructures. The UVC processors include the AMD Athlon X2 3250e with a 22W TDP and operating at 1.5GHz. It features a 1MB L2 cache and is planned to be available in Q4 2008.

The AMD Athlon 2650e has a 15W TDP and operates at 1.6GHz with 512KB cache. The 2650e is available now. According to AMD slides, it is positioning both the Athlon X2 3250e and Athlon 2650e above the Intel Atom DT 230 processor in performance.

These processors may become attractive to netbook makers looking for an alternative to Intel's Atom parts because of the current shortages of Atom parts from Intel. It is important to note that the AMD processors use more power than Intel's Atom. AMD is betting some users and OEMs will be willing to sacrifice battery life for improved performance.

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Rock Atom
By dsx724 on 9/10/2008 12:09:22 PM , Rating: 5
Atom frankly is a pretty bad processor. Its too slow to do anything. At least the AMD processor has a good FP engine. Plus, Intel's still uses an archaic NorthBridge fabrication process vs AMD who uses the lastest and greatest. Not to mention Intel GFX is crap compared to any AMD GFX. Overall, an AMD plaform will chew less power. Thank god theres competition.

RE: Rock Atom
By Sulphademus on 9/10/2008 12:20:45 PM , Rating: 4
I still cant believe that Intel released a new processor that doesnt support out of order processing. That was new tech, what? two decades ago?

RE: Rock Atom
By Proteusza on 9/10/2008 12:37:16 PM , Rating: 4
I almost see it as revenge from the guys who brought us Prescott, because of its long pipeline. They still havent caught on that Long Pipeline + High Frequency != High Performance.

By all accounts, the VIA Nano performs far better, and doesnt have that 22w northbridge as baggage.

RE: Rock Atom
By nosfe on 9/10/2008 12:47:36 PM , Rating: 2
why can't you believe it? they did the same thing with their IGP's. GMA 3100 doesn't have Hardware TnL which was introduced in the first GeForce back in 1999

RE: Rock Atom
By Sulphademus on 9/10/2008 1:26:08 PM , Rating: 2
IMO making a cheapass GPU (just made to display IE and Word) is different from something thats been part of all x86 architechture since Pentium Pro.

RE: Rock Atom
By nosfe on 9/10/2008 1:53:30 PM , Rating: 2
its more or less the same thing, a feature so old that everybody considers them a given for any CPU/GPU

RE: Rock Atom
By Sulphademus on 9/10/2008 2:28:56 PM , Rating: 2
Okay, I agree.

RE: Rock Atom
By StevoLincolnite on 9/10/2008 6:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
Well to be fair the GMA 3100 is classed as the low-end chip, which is basically a cost cutting where-ever possible design, the X3000, X3100, X3500 do have Hardware TnL. (Although stupidly low-powered).

Most people do not need Hardware TnL at all anyway, and more often than not, the GMA 3000 will run better than the X3100 because of the "Lack" of Hardware TnL, relying on Software TnL Instead which provides better performance. (Thats why x3100 users find every possible way to Disable Hardware TnL for there games).

Still, Things might improve in the future now that AMD and nVidia are heating up the IGP market, but even if you have "Excellent" hardware, there is still one area which Intel don't seem to match ATI or nVidia, and that's in the Drivers department which can make massive performance differences.

RE: Rock Atom
By murphyslabrat on 9/11/2008 1:43:55 AM , Rating: 2
(Thats why x3100 users find every possible way to Disable Hardware TnL for there games).

You will find no pity here.

RE: Rock Atom
By Lonyo on 9/10/2008 2:21:34 PM , Rating: 2
The engineered it specifically to avoid it being OOO due to the added complexity.
Arguably many of the reasons for design choices aren't necessarily solely power related, but also cost. With the way they've done it they've made a fast enough processor with pretty low power (held back by the chipset), but more importantly, it's got a very small die size which means they can pump out lots for a low cost and get a good margin.

RE: Rock Atom
By Natfly on 9/10/2008 12:58:58 PM , Rating: 4
I think the Atom is good for what it does and its power consumption. Unfortunately it's tied to that abomination the 945 chipset.

RE: Rock Atom
By therealnickdanger on 9/10/2008 1:22:39 PM , Rating: 3
945 is really what is holding back Atom. It's too bad, really. However, a fresh line of Poulsbo netbooks is on the horizon though. From the AT review of the Dell Mini:

"I asked Dell why it opted against Poulsbo and I was told that it was a timing issue - in order to have the Inspiron Mini out today, the design had to be completed using 945G."

I don't know if or when such a beast will arrive, but a netbook with a dual-core Atom w/HT combined with Poulsbo and a real SSD would be remarkable. I realize netbooks aren't "supposed" to be powerful or expensive, but I really don't care. :P

RE: Rock Atom
By sprockkets on 9/10/2008 2:58:50 PM , Rating: 1
Really? Cause the D201GLY2A board with a 1.2ghz Celeron based on C2D technology whips the Atom in both performance AND power efficiency, and costs about $15 less to boot.

RE: Rock Atom
By Natfly on 9/11/2008 9:43:30 AM , Rating: 2
The Celeron 220? It has a TDP of 19 watts, not even in the same realm as the atom's 2-4 watt tdp.

RE: Rock Atom
By Penti on 9/11/2008 12:37:05 PM , Rating: 2
Still competes against the VIAs.

Anyhow i wish that they had came out with the dual-core Atom from the start.

RE: Rock Atom
By Natfly on 9/11/2008 1:50:41 PM , Rating: 2
Still competes against the VIAs.

I agree, I'm not saying that the Celeron 220 is a bad chip or that it's not competitive. Just that the Atom itself does well for consuming so little power.

RE: Rock Atom
By fleshconsumed on 9/10/2008 1:05:03 PM , Rating: 3
"Atom frankly is a pretty bad processor. Its too slow to do anything."

Exaggerate much? My dad got Acer Asrpire One and it runs SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005, GPS navigation program, and pretty much everything else without too much trouble.

Yes, you can't fold or game on it, but too slow to do anything? That's just laughable.

RE: Rock Atom
By dsx724 on 9/10/2008 6:30:48 PM , Rating: 1
Have a database larger than 2MB and SQL Server 2005 becomes the sequel to the dark knight. Have you tried compiling anything other than hello world on Visual Studio with Aspire One? I'd rather cut myself than wait for it. As for running a GPS program, the GPS unit in my car can do it faster and better.

As for this cloud mumbo jumbo, it is just asking for trouble. If data is important to you, save it somewhere that doesn't have sixteen physical dependencies in order to work.

However, you are right. Atom can do things.

RE: Rock Atom
By masher2 on 9/10/2008 1:05:07 PM , Rating: 1
> "Its too slow to do anything"

It's faster than the computers I used for the first 20 years or so, plenty fast enough for the basic tasks most people need on a daily basis.

Atom-type processors are the future of Intel. In another decade, large, high-power desktops are going to almost entirely defunct.

RE: Rock Atom
By kontorotsui on 9/10/2008 1:34:46 PM , Rating: 2
In another decade, large, high-power desktops are going to almost entirely defunct.

A very good match for the "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers".

RE: Rock Atom
By masher2 on 9/10/2008 1:43:22 PM , Rating: 5
It's diametrically opposed, actually. Watson, who made that statement, couldn't conceive of large-scale changes to the computer market; he believed the paradigm of large, high-powered machines he was familiar with would persist forever.

What I'm saying is the trend that began in Watson's time will continue. Computers will get faster, smaller, and more ubiquitous. In another 10 or 15 years at most, no one is going to use a large dedicated desktop box consuming hundreds of watts just to pull email and browse the web. Atom-sized and smaller CPUs are going to be the real growth market of the next 30 years.

RE: Rock Atom
By strikeback03 on 9/10/2008 2:06:28 PM , Rating: 2
So what are those of us who actually have real work to do going to use? Processing Farms? It is unlikely even in 10 years that laptops will be able to offer as much performance for the price as desktops will. They certainly don't right now.

For those who only need to read email and browse the web though I imagine small low-powered systems will replace current budget desktops. Now that many TVs are a decent resolution I can see either an internal processor or a small attached box serving the web functionality which is all some need from a computer.

RE: Rock Atom
By masher2 on 9/10/2008 5:10:15 PM , Rating: 3
> "So what are those of us who actually have real work to do going to use?"

How do you define "real work"? Back in the 80s, I did computational fluid dynamic simulations on computers with 1% the horsepower of the Atom. Large corporations ran their entire firm on systems with less power.

In a couple die shrinks (say 5 years) the Atom will be more powerful than any CPU available today. If you're doing real work today, you can do that same work even faster on that new Atom.

That's the real message here. If you're doing protein folding, or graphical rendering, you can still use thousands of times your current horsepower.. But for most other tasks, CPU's are already as fast as necessary. The Atom might feel a bit underpowered today. . . but the Atom of tomorrow will be faster than the supercomputer of today.

Now of course there's always future software. AI applications that will answer our questions before we ask them, neural networks that will do everything but (and sometimes including) take out our trash for us. There will always be a market for chips as fast as we can build them. But the growth market will be in ubiquitous computing. . . putting processing power in everything from sneakers to sweaters to toothbrushes to labels on cans.

RE: Rock Atom
By omnicronx on 9/10/2008 5:48:55 PM , Rating: 2
The in order Atom will not be the processor of tomorrow, but I totally agree with the idea that large desktops will be obsolete. In 10 years, whomever controls the 'UVC' market will control the processor market.

RE: Rock Atom
By MonkeyPaw on 9/10/2008 8:09:27 PM , Rating: 3
In a couple die shrinks (say 5 years) the Atom will be more powerful than any CPU available today. If you're doing real work today, you can do that same work even faster on that new Atom.

The thing is, in 5 years, nodes will be small enough to put the OoO back into Atom and still keep the low TDP. More clock speed won't be necessary if they add more IPC. In 2 node changes, a dual core OoO Atom should be possible, and it just might even be a SOC, complete with IMC, GPU, and SB. I'd imagine AMD will have something similar in Fusion by then as well. Atom is what it is because of today's limits.

RE: Rock Atom
By vic5014 on 9/11/2008 2:18:01 AM , Rating: 2
you're absolutely right. processor power has increased tremendously and there's no obvious reason for that trend not to continue. plus people have done amazing things on what we would now consider ridiculously low amounts of computer horsepower. the old story about the entire apollo program being run on less aggregate computing power than a modern calculator comes to mind and the computers they used were some of the best and most expensive available at the time.

RE: Rock Atom
By mindless1 on 9/10/2008 7:47:48 PM , Rating: 2
It's not hard at all to imagine laptops offering the same performance per dollar if only you accept a maximum thermal design power that can be reasonably cooled in a laptop form factor.

Otherwise, molding plastic and a reduction in metal, more integrated mainboards in laptops all add up to eventual lower cost vs a desktop. Remember a laptop also includes the pointing device and monitor if we're making a price comparison.

Most people really won't need aa new system ever other year in 10 years time. Even today the majority of people I talk to that have a computer failure are only interested in having the same box running again for the lowest cost and least amount of time possible.

The power users here? A tiny minority. Many people who buy a computer today will want to be using the same one in 10 years because they don't game, render, because today's systems can do Blu-Ray if set up properly and handle more applications with gigabytes of memory than people can reasonably keep track of.

The above was only a consideration of traditional client systems, there's still going to be a push for more powerful workstations and servers.

RE: Rock Atom
By RjBass on 9/10/2008 3:45:04 PM , Rating: 1
I fully agree with you here.

However, as has been shown through history, there will always be a market for high powered, high yielding computers. The computers we use today are faster and better then the super computers from 12 years ago. If it still takes a thousand watt PSU to run a system that can breaks the petaflop barrier in 4 to 8 years then you know some Hummer loving, Crysis 10.2 playing geek is going to want it.

RE: Rock Atom
By foolsgambit11 on 9/11/2008 3:03:48 PM , Rating: 2
If it still takes a thousand watt PSU....
Unfortunately, we'll be lucky if it only takes a thousand watt PSU. The best systems of ten years ago got by on less than half that. And the GPU market hasn't really jumped into the performance per watt competition yet. If the GPU makers make substantial progress in the FPS/W arena, we probably won't see desktop power requirements jump much. But the only thing keeping GPUs from sucking more and more power are engineering hurdles, it would seem. They do get pretty good returns for that extra wattage, though.

RE: Rock Atom
By Proteusza on 9/11/2008 5:29:44 AM , Rating: 2
I do think you are somewhat right, but I think in the immediate future, what we will see is further market segmentation between gaming or workstation CPUs, server CPUs, and laptop/desktop CPUs.

As I see it, no one really needs a 3.0GHz hyper threaded quad core to use Microsoft Word, so Intel and AMD will keep value processor lines to be used for business and basic home customers. Atom is possibly the first processor that can be used on a desktop or laptop, and yet was designed from the ground up not to be powerful but to be cheap and power efficient. Right now, home desktop machines typically carry mainstream CPUs, but in the future, they will have what are currently termed lower power or ultra value client CPUs - there simply wont be a need for anything more.

That wont mitigate the need for powerful CPUs in some situations, and you may even find server CPUs merging with workstation/gaming CPUs in order to reduce the number of discrete SKUs.

By voodooboy on 9/10/2008 12:36:46 PM , Rating: 2
The AMD Athlon 2650e has a 15W TDP and operates at 1.6GHz with 512 MB cache.

Whoaa!...Really?? :p

RE: Typo!
By piroroadkill on 9/10/2008 1:43:23 PM , Rating: 4
Well, if it really did, it would probably be fucking blisteringly fast. RAM is for pussies.

RE: Typo!
By rudolphna on 9/10/2008 9:34:38 PM , Rating: 2
LOL I needed a good laugh. :)

By Chris Peredun on 9/10/2008 12:18:02 PM , Rating: 2
Well, that's a shame, given that the 740G is pretty much just a die-shrink of the 690G. I'd like to see a 780 derivative in there, at least for desktop applications.

By Cygni on 9/10/2008 12:21:53 PM , Rating: 2
I dont think there is really going to be any desktop applications...

Good competition for Atom, if AMD market it.
By psychobriggsy on 9/10/2008 12:31:54 PM , Rating: 4
"It is important to note that the AMD processors use more power than Intel's Atom."

And it also includes a Northbridge, is going to perform faster clock-for-clock, and the chipset's graphics aren't pish.

And if 780G has a max power usage of 11.4W (<1W idle), 740G should use less still. What was the desktop i945 again? 22W?

However for the subnotebooks it won't look as good unless the CPU is underclocked a little to extend battery life, or if it clocks down seriously when idle to get excellent idle power consumption.

By mindless1 on 9/10/2008 7:56:42 PM , Rating: 2
With a MAX TDP of 15W, much lower at idle with power management, it is positioned well for subnotebooks. In this case the most significant differences in battery life will depend on the screen, chipset, and size of battery chosen.

Remember, if you make a processor with higher TDP but it gets the work done faster and settles down to idle state again, it's then using less power than the slower processor which is still doing the work - even a lot less power if it is a scenario where you turn off or put the notebook to sleep when the work is finished so it's total notebook power consumption you have to weigh for the addt'l time it was turned on to finish the task.

Athlon XP again ?
By Soulkeeper on 9/10/2008 9:11:54 PM , Rating: 2
smells like an athlon xp ....
ahh the memories

By DjiSaSie on 9/11/2008 12:54:28 AM , Rating: 2
Have anyone tried to run an Atom processor on windows vista? well.. it's slow as hell even for a basic task... Now I'm sure this tiny from AMD surely will do the job.
Maybe that's why intel scheduled a new Atom dual core to be launch in next year, until then this will kick intel Atom ass.

By SiliconAddict on 9/10/2008 7:26:55 PM , Rating: 1
"slides showing some new AMD processors coming this year surfaced"

That is all we ever see. Wake me when a product ships.

1st post!!!
By SunAngel on 9/10/08, Rating: -1
RE: 1st post!!!
By Murloc on 9/10/08, Rating: -1
AMD's stupid mistake
By CardPuncher on 9/10/08, Rating: -1
RE: AMD's stupid mistake
By Trippytiger on 9/10/2008 1:42:10 PM , Rating: 5

Are we reading different articles? Because the one I read was all about AMD rolling out a bunch of low-cost, low-power processors that would be great for netbooks.

Apples to Oranges
By EvanaTm on 9/10/08, Rating: -1
RE: Apples to Oranges
By RussianSensation on 9/10/2008 4:55:51 PM , Rating: 3
No it's not. AMD processors have an onboard memory controller thus not requiring the northbridge. Once you add the power consumption of Intel's northbridge your claim of 4W power consumption for the cpu vs. 15W for AMD's processor is no longer relevant when comparing platform power consumption.

RE: Apples to Oranges
By bruce24 on 9/10/2008 9:17:37 PM , Rating: 1
> AMD processors have an onboard memory controller thus not
> requiring the northbridge. Once you add the power
> consumption of Intel's northbridge your claim of 4W power
> consumption for the cpu vs. 15W for AMD's processor is no
> longer relevant when comparing platform power consumption.

Yes AMD's processor has the memory controller, but with AMD's platform you still require a northbrdge chip, while it doesn't have the memory controller, there is more to the northbridge than just the memory controller.

And by the way, the 945 northbridge that is paired with Atom based notebooks is rated at 7 Watts Max TDP, that include both the memory controller and the gpu.

RE: Apples to Oranges
By rudolphna on 9/10/2008 9:36:52 PM , Rating: 2
No its not. Actually, its rated at 22 Watts. Even the newest of Intel and AMD chips are not rated for 7 watts, that site is wrooong.

RE: Apples to Oranges
By bruce24 on 9/11/2008 9:31:17 AM , Rating: 3
> No its not. Actually, its rated at 22 Watts. Even
> the newest of Intel and AMD chips are not rated for 7
> watts, that site is wrooong.

I'll take Intel word over yours. If you go to the Intel website, you will desktop version of the 945 northbridge is rated at 22.2W, while the mobile version, as the link I provided shows is rated at 7W.

RE: Apples to Oranges
By Penti on 9/11/2008 2:04:28 PM , Rating: 3
All I can say about AMDs chipsets power is that.

690G had a TDP of 8W and SB600 had a TDP of 4W.

Not much more then Intels 7W + 3.3W. 780G though has been shown idling at very low power. So on the desktops the AMD solution will use less power. As they don't have any lower power versions for the mobile platform, but Intel has a higher power for the desktop.

RE: Apples to Oranges
By foolsgambit11 on 9/11/2008 3:54:13 PM , Rating: 2
Yes. If you go to that site, it does have a 7W TDP processor listed for the 945 mobile chipset. And if you look at the list of approved processors, guess what processor you won't find on that list?


In other words, you won't be finding this chipset paired with Atom in notebooks.

This gives you the two approved chipsets for Atom. They're the 945GSE (for Netbooks) and the 945GC (for Nettops).

There's the page for the 945GSE Express. 6W TDP. As for the 945GC, I can't seem to find a product page for it. But I'm willing to bet it's in the 22W range people have been quoting (I mean, I doubt they're totally misinformed, just misguided).

So then you can add on the ICH for the 945GSE, which has as TDP of 3.3W ( That tallies up to a total draw, including an Atom 230 (4.0 W), 945GSE (6 W), and ICH (3.3 W) of 13.3 Watts. Max.

So the AMD offering comes in above the total CPU, north and south bridge combination for netbooks with Atom.

Granted, AMD's offering will probably outperform Atom for that extra wattage, but I thought I'd help set the TDP record straight.

Ha! Bet you thought this post was antagonistic, eh?

RE: Apples to Oranges
By Penti on 9/11/2008 1:19:10 PM , Rating: 2
It's more then just an IMC (memory controller) on die, they also did move other NB logic such as registers. It's normally the Southbridge that's connected to the BIOS and other LPC / Super I/O stuff. So you can technically build a AMD64 system without any external NB or NB Logic. Servers have done it. But a southbridge or other logic with an LPC / BIOS interface is needed. Thus the SB is more important in the AMD64 system.

But for the most time AMD64 systems means you need to use both a NB (PCI-E, Hypertransport) and a SB. Both use power of course. The 780G has shown using very little power during idle. So I'm sure they can make the 740G use little power too.

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