Print 44 comment(s) - last by coldpower27.. on Jun 20 at 9:38 PM

AMD pushing 2x512KB chips instead

Not to the surprise of DailyTech, AMD representatives are telling its CPU distributors to play down 2x1MB L2 cache Windsor processor sales in favor of the 2x512KB AM2 parts.  Several days ago, DailyTech published the entire AMD July 24th pricing guide complete with price cuts across the board.  The price list was surprisingly devoid of AMD 2x1MB cache CPUs, and today we know the reason why.

Several US distributors all confirmed the same story with DailyTech, either claiming either a lack of information about the 2x1MB AM2 parts or claiming AMD employees were told to disregard 2x1MB cache desktop parts for the time being.

While distributors could not tell DailyTech exactly the reason for the reduction, the cost of running two separate cores and logistics for those cores is obviously eating at the bottom line for AMD.  The additional cache per chip means fewer chips per wafers and the additional SKUs means that more marketing dollars must be spent -- and when battling it out with Intel on the pricing front, every dollar counts.

Furthermore, AMD can dedicate all of its fab resources to work on a unified design rather than splitting development between two separate cache revisions.  AMD's Turion X2 lineup does not contain any 2x1MB L2 cache components.

Update 06/14/2006: Scott Wasson from The Tech Report seems to have also confirmed that the 2x1MB chips are toast.

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By erwos on 6/14/2006 11:54:10 AM , Rating: 2
I hate to toss AMD under the train, but I wonder how well this is going to play out when compared to Conroe's comparatively-giant cache sizes. Cache is very, very handy in certain operations - I know 3D gaming isn't generally one of them, but that's not all computers are used for.

RE: Bleh
By Samus on 6/14/2006 12:14:34 PM , Rating: 3
Cache is more important to Intel's architecture than AMD's. AMD is making the right move. Keep 1MB caches for server environments, no need for it in any desktop applications. Even if it gives you a 5% performance improvement somewhere, you'll get at least a 5% improvement going to the next higher clockspeed.

Even Intel admits onboard memory controllers would aid in reducing dependency on cache.

RE: Bleh
By RamarC on 6/14/2006 12:50:09 PM , Rating: 2
cache is important to AMD also... its the only thing that distinguishes an x2-4800+ from an x2-4600+. but using either higher clock speed OR increased cache is causing too much confusion. not too mention the strategy sometimes backfires when the x2 5000+ can't beat the x2 4800+ in some benchmarks.

RE: Bleh
By Araemo on 6/14/2006 1:25:20 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, cache isn't really important, you said it yourself:
"its the only thing that distinguishes an x2-4800+ from an x2-4600+"

As in, they are not distinguished by performance(in 90% of the programs out there, games included). So why release the second one at all?

RE: Bleh
By RamarC on 6/14/2006 2:30:14 PM , Rating: 2
i'm not saying cache is (or isn't) important. i'm simply saying that AMD uses it as a differentiating factor. thus, it is important to them (from both a performance and marketing standpoint).

RE: Bleh
By Motley on 6/14/2006 1:24:48 PM , Rating: 2
And in other news, AMD admits that if they removed the memory controller from the CPU they could adopt newer memory technologies faster and be more flexable in the marketplace. Uh, duh.

RE: Bleh
By peldor on 6/14/2006 4:31:15 PM , Rating: 2
Cache was very important to the P4 architecture. I haven't seen a good comparison for Core2Duo yet. It's a important question to answer as there will be 2MB and 4MB versions of Core2Duo. It's possible Core2Duo is no more dependent on a large cache than K8.

RE: Bleh
By TheDoc9 on 6/14/2006 12:18:58 PM , Rating: 2
Not sure about that. I remimber reading that in AMD's case with at least the L1 cache, that a smaller size is actually better and larger sizes slow down the processor. This could be the case with the L2 however I doubt it.

They didn't say they were eleminating these processors, just down playing them because of the manufacturing cost. So for the hardcore - the ones who will be looking for them, they'll find them.

RE: Bleh
By GoatMonkey on 6/14/2006 12:57:45 PM , Rating: 2
I don't buy that. The 4200+ and 4400+ are the same clock speed, the cache size difference is where the higher performance rating comes from.

I would prefer the 4400+ with 1MB caches to a 4600+ with 512k caches. But it's all a matter of opinion. Some people say that you can get a better overclock out of the 512k cache because it will generate less heat. It's my opinion that the overall performance will be better with the 1MB caches even if you can't get quite as high of a clock speed.

RE: Bleh
By smitty3268 on 6/14/2006 7:07:04 PM , Rating: 2
The larger the cache, the harder and more expensive it is to keep it going fast. L2 caches for the A64 are (I believe) the same speeds, so there was no performance downside. However, you could see this affect in Intels transition from Northwood to Prescott P4's. The Prescott doubled the L2 cache but made it slower as well which caused some applications to gain speed and others to slow down.

RE: Bleh
By Clauzii on 6/14/2006 9:44:00 PM , Rating: 2
For doing realtime audiosequencing with virtual FX and instruments, cache is vital.... I hope AMD know what they are doing this time :O

RE: Bleh
By Clauzii on 6/14/2006 9:44:49 PM , Rating: 2
For doing realtime audiosequencing with virtual FX and instruments, cache is vital.... I hope AMD know what they are doing this time :O

RE: Bleh
By ceefka on 6/15/2006 6:58:48 AM , Rating: 2
The coming generation DAWs will be Core Duo based I guess. It's a small market anyway.

It's because of DELL order....
By fikimiki on 6/14/2006 12:10:56 PM , Rating: 2
1. AMD is fighting for more capacity
2. Dell is going to sell AMD desktop soon
3. Who could imagine that FAB30, 36 and 7 is not enough (?)
4. Where is Conroe?

RE: It's because of DELL order....
By firewolfsm on 6/14/2006 12:17:43 PM , Rating: 2
Dell is only using AMD for servers

By firewolfsm on 6/14/2006 12:21:58 PM , Rating: 2

By AstroCreep on 6/14/2006 5:09:03 PM , Rating: 2
Wait a sec...
I always thought that step three was supposed to be 'Profit'. :p

By animedude on 6/15/2006 4:01:59 PM , Rating: 2
Actually AMD is going all out to bite P4. Consumers can't get a conroe due supply problem and they know P4s $uck, and the price for AMD cpus are right. Great move by AMD. Crank up production to go for Intel's weakness.

this makes good sense
By johnsonx on 6/14/2006 12:53:24 PM , Rating: 2
This helps define the desktop/workstation product lines a little better I think:

Sempron - 128k/256k cache
Athlon64 - 512k cache
Athlon64 X2 - 2x512k Cache
Athlon64 FX - 2x1Mb Cache
Opteron 1xx - 1Mb cache or 2x1Mb Cache

I'm assuming in there that for the most part the 1Mb cache single-cores are probably going away too. (I kinda wish the 128k Semprons would go away too though, but that's another story).

Let's realize that a 2x1Mb cache X2-4400 costs AMD more to make than a 2x512K cache X2-5000, yet they have to charge far less for the 4400. In business, that's called stupid.

If 2x1Mb cache parts are all FX's or Opterons, AMD can charge more for them. In business, this is called smart.

I do agree with the logic that offering mostly 512k cache chips vs Intel's 2mb & 4Mb chips could hurt them competitively among customers who don't understand, but that can't be the only issue considered.

RE: this makes good sense
By johnsonx on 6/14/2006 1:00:53 PM , Rating: 2
I'm assuming in there that for the most part the 1Mb cache single-cores are probably going away too.

Looks like I was right about that part too. In the recent price sheet, the 1Mb cache single-core A64's don't show a 7/24 price either. Indeed, I'm not even sure 1Mb Cache AM2 single cores ever existed.

RE: this makes good sense
By coldpower27 on 6/14/2006 2:10:41 PM , Rating: 2
Orleans was always a 512KB part there was never one slated with the current roadmaps for Socket AM2.

Though keep in mind the pricing drops do affect both Socket AM2 and Socket 939 so the San Diego and Toledo and "full" Windsor core pricing will remain where they are.

RE: this makes good sense
By johnsonx on 6/14/2006 4:56:14 PM , Rating: 2
I'll bet 1Mb cache 939's are going away too. There are only two left, the 3700 and 4000, plus remaining stock of FX55's and FX57s. Oddly Newegg still has some old Clawhammer 4000+ in stock as well.

Likewise the 2x1mb cache Toledos (aside from FX60) will disappear before long too.

RE: this makes good sense
By eomhS on 6/15/2006 1:22:14 AM , Rating: 2
happy owner of a 1mb 3700+ sckt 754!, i wonder if this will drive up the resale price of these 1mb'rs

not totally correct
By Myrandex on 6/14/2006 12:51:51 PM , Rating: 2
FX CPUs were getting price cuts and they have 2*1MB cache. I'm happy with my DC Opty w/ its 2*1MB cache as I see the difference in speed in my imagination all the time ;)

RE: not totally correct
By AndreasM on 6/14/2006 3:02:15 PM , Rating: 2
FX CPUs were getting price cuts and they have 2*1MB cache. I'm happy with my DC Opty w/ its 2*1MB cache as I see the difference in speed in my imagination all the time ;)

Actually, the FX CPUs are not getting their prices cut.

RE: not totally correct
By ryandmiller1 on 6/17/2006 4:50:03 AM , Rating: 2
actually, i just bought a fx-60, and the price droped from 1039 to 850, so unless you ar talking about am2.....

RE: not totally correct
By coldpower27 on 6/20/2006 9:38:37 PM , Rating: 3
No the FX's don't get cut in price until a New FX is released to take thier place.

So FX 62 for 1031US and FX 60 for 827US is what they will remain as.

AMD to drop 1MB L2 Cache F-Step CPUs
By Orville on 6/15/2006 1:44:49 PM , Rating: 3
When AMD announced their Athlon 64 X2 F-Step line on 060523 I learned three significant things, I think:

1. The F-Step line will use the latest, fastest production main memory technology available today.
2. The F-Step line will be able to go head to head with Conroe in processing power, even though Dresden trails Intel in lithography.
3. AMD now realizes that CPU power draw is a very key CPU design feature that will substantially affect their future financial results.

So, when this latest AMD rumor came down yesterday, 060614, I looked at it in terms of what I had already learned from the original product introduction on 060523. Here is my analysis. It might be interesting to somebody?

AMD has determined in the short space of three weeks since their 060523 introduction that their Dresden manufacturing process is running well, maybe even considerably better than anticipated. This enables them to recreate the three dropped parts (X2 4800+, 4400+ and 4000+) by using the smaller dual 512 kB F-Step die and cranking up the clock by just one tick. Of course this only works if they get more good parts from the same wafer, or if their power bin distribution looks better, or both. It also only works if they can maintain the same three power envelopes announced on 060523. AMD wouldn’t make the move if both these conditions weren’t true. So, for example AMD will reintroduce the X2 4800+ as a dual 512 kB L2 cache F-Step die, but now clocked at 2.5 GHz. Similarly, the X2 4400+ will become the little F-Step die at 2.3 GHz and the X2 4000+ will become the little F-Step die at 2.1 GHz. AMD can do this because they get more good parts from the same wafer, and maybe they get a better power bin distribution, more 62 and 35 Watt parts. If their average production cost per part drops they are in better position for the coming processor wars.

One last question – Have any of these parts turned up in Retail: ADD3800CUBOX, ADD3500CNBOX, SDD3500CBNOX, SDD3400CBNOX, SDD3200CNBOX and SDD3000CNBOX. Some of the P/Ns look discombobulated, but they came from AMD. I’ve been looking, but haven’t seen any yet. It’s my opinion that these are the real sleeper parts from AMD’s 060523 introduction, desktop CPUs with laptop power dissipation. If they can make these 35-Watt parts in quantity they could turn Intel’s layoff into a stampede.


RE: AMD to drop 1MB L2 Cache F-Step CPUs
By mino on 6/15/2006 8:56:45 PM , Rating: 2
You have a point.

However NO 2.1, 2.3, 2.5 AM2 parts will see the light of the day. the technology employed requieres 200MHz clockspeed jumps.

!M parts will just not appear at all. Well Conroe is gonna have some 5 SKU, even without 1M parts AMD does have have 5 normal SKU's; 1EE SFF and 4 EE SKU's = 10 SKU's to Intel's 5.
I was initially surprised when 4400+/4000+ AM'2 were announced - dindn't make sense for a capacity consrained company. Seems someone at AMD has done its homework a bit late ;).

By Orville on 6/17/2006 2:08:41 PM , Rating: 2

My mistake. Thank you.

Sensible for AMD
By psychobriggsy on 6/14/2006 12:24:21 PM , Rating: 2
The 512KB parts are cheaper to make as they have smaller dies, and the 1MB parts can go into the server marketplace, where they'll make more money.

Indeed maybe AMD need all the 1MB dies for the Opterons and simply can't guarantee supplies for AM2, hence this news.

Have to admit I'm not too impressed with AMD's cache size improvements in the past 3 years. Of course, they haven't required it, but it seems complacent. Their 65nm cache cell size is quite good though, which should allow for greater cache sizes and density (4MB L3 caches I imagine).

RE: Sensible for AMD
By dntknwhw on 6/15/2006 2:49:42 AM , Rating: 2
amd should cut down the cache, esp. when 64bit progs are starting to came out.

64bit progs are fatter than 32bit progs, and a large cache can be handy!

Amd I like, but...
By electriple9 on 6/14/2006 5:59:45 PM , Rating: 2
... Why did amd have to introduce semprons with 128k.

RE: Amd I like, but...
By Clauzii on 6/14/2006 9:47:24 PM , Rating: 2
To put something in cheap Pre-Assembled PCs :)

Quad spaced ?
By Clauzii on 6/14/2006 9:51:20 PM , Rating: 2
Could this be to make space for a QuadCore @ 4x512KB Cache?

RE: Quad spaced ?
By Clauzii on 6/14/2006 9:54:02 PM , Rating: 2
I mean 'glueing' two dice together ie. produce more of the same wafers?

call me crazy
By Anemone on 6/14/2006 10:23:57 PM , Rating: 2
I'm thinking they are saving the 1mb cache chips for servers so they can keep capacity high for Dell's introduction of servers based on the higher performance chips. I'm sure they made promises to Dell about supply.

Secondly the general move to 512 cpu's lets them start concentrating on clockspeed increases, which they probably see as needed to handle Conroe.

Thirdly since they plan to introduce a higher cache chip in 6-12mo it wouldn't do to have 1mb chips performing at nearly the same level. With 512 it will be easier to display a "performance improvement" and thus higher price of the zcache or whatever they decide to call it.

Overall I think they could have used every ounce of performance they could get given what Conroe is bringing, so in sum I think it's a bad move. But, as I suspect, if they absolutely have to cut cost to manage price and expect to compete with Conroe mid and low grade chips on price, then it fits their strategy. I still think it's a bad idea. I think they made their bread and butter on enthusiasts and this will not win them more of those.

RE: call me crazy
By eomhS on 6/15/2006 1:26:13 AM , Rating: 2
Or maybe their going to off load their 1mb production line to Dell, keep all the 512k inside, let Dell produce FX and Server Cpu's, that'd be a smart move...

By cnimativ on 6/14/06, Rating: 0
RE: simple
By Phynaz on 6/14/06, Rating: 0
RE: simple
By Clauzii on 6/14/2006 9:49:04 PM , Rating: 2
Well not me then - :)

I actually think AMD is taking some BOLD steps at the moment :(

L2: Size Matters
By lopri on 6/15/2006 2:07:21 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know why some people think a larger L2 cache doesn't matter for gaming? Cause I thought it'd be the games where the larger cache would be, if at all, ever useful.

Opteron full speed ahead
By Frallan on 6/15/2006 3:49:21 AM , Rating: 2
With the new Co-op with Dell they are going to need all the 2*1Mb production lines to make opterons. Hopefully they wont cut the 170 out b4 Ive bought 1.

read between the lines-line yield
By ariddle on 6/14/06, Rating: 0
"It looks like the iPhone 4 might be their Vista, and I'm okay with that." -- Microsoft COO Kevin Turner
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