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AMD plans to keep "Brisbane" around, releases new chips based on it

Things at AMD may have gone from bad to worse with the lackluster Phenom launch in late November.  Not only did Phenom fail to appeal to professional reviewers, but the company ended up removing one third of its CPU lineup just after the big day.

Last week AMD CEO Hector Ruiz vowed that the company would stop hemorrhaging cash and return to profitability soon.  "That is our number one goal right now," Ruiz said in a conference in Bangalore

Making a profit at AMD apparently means refocusing on its older K8 architecture.  The company will introduce eleven 65nm K8 processors over the next two quarters.  By comparison: AMD launched two quad-core K10 Phenom processors in November with three more scheduled over the next two quarters.  Two tri-core Phenom processors will follow in March 2008.

Essentially, AMD will move any remaining Athlon 64 processors from the 90nm node to the 65nm node, with a few new frequency and TDP variations.

The AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ will be the first to jump on the new 65nm K8 bandwagon with a 65W TDP. The previous Windsor-based chip of the same featured an 89-Watt TDP. AMD will also add 100 MHz to the core frequency of the Athlon 64 X2 5600+, now rated at 2.9 GHz. Total L2 cache will be halved in the move to the Brisbane core, and the updated Athlon 64 X2 5600+ chips will feature only 1MB of L2 cache. Availability of these processors is scheduled for Q1 2008.

AMD's higher-end Athlon 64 X2 6400+ and Athlon 64 X2 6000+ will both be discontinued.

AMD will also update its "Energy Efficient" series and will release three new chips, the AMD Athlon 4850e, Athlon 4450e, and Athlon 4050e in Q2 2008. All of the new offerings will be based on AMD's Brisbane core and will feature a 45-Watt thermal envelope. AMD's current energy efficient "BE-2xxx" series will be phased out at that time. Respectively, the new chips will run at 2.5GHz, 2.3GHz and 2.1GHz.

All new Brisbane chips will be based on the Socket AM2 interface.  These processors are compatible with AMD's AM2+ socket designated for Phenom processors.

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RE: AMD's new Sempron
By cochy on 12/5/2007 10:58:21 AM , Rating: 1
A little time? I don't think they have much time left. How can Hector Ruiz promise a return to profitability when AMD is going to lose all their markets. Even Opteron, which was once their bread and butter, is looking like a disaster now. If they lose out big in that segment it's curtains for this company. Chapter 11. Good night Irene.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By StevoLincolnite on 12/5/2007 11:06:43 AM , Rating: 2
AMD won't go under in a hurry, there are people in very high places that will assure that won't happen.

At least they have an Action plan in place.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By TomZ on 12/5/2007 12:42:21 PM , Rating: 1
AMD won't go under in a hurry, there are people in very high places that will assure that won't happen.

Who do you mean by that? President Bush? :o)

Seriously though, nobody in "very high places" can make the market accept a sub-par products. The only way AMD can continue to have marketshare is by continuing to lower prices further. This of course harms their revenue and profitability, which further compounds their problems.

The best way out for AMD was to have Phenom be a great success at the right time so that it could effectively compete with Intel with high margins. It seems like that opportunity is missed, however.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By StevoLincolnite on 12/6/2007 10:20:40 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not American, Bush is the last person to come to mind, and I thought AMD was Canadian based?

And sub-par products? If you go back to the Pentium 2 and earlier days, I don't exactly recall AMD being a market leader at any single time, they survived then and the market had more competitors, I'm not sure how the Stock markets and what not work, but I can imagine they will work something out when the coffers start to run low.

I hope they don't go the way Cyrix did, Personally I think the Athlon X2's are great value for money.
I was disappointed how the latest batch of Radeon's didn't really make Performance headways.
Although the Radeon 2900GT is great value, and I highly recommend it.
Which brings another thing, Back during the Days of the Pre-Radeon ATI survived almost completely on the OEM market, While nVidia, 3dfx, Matrox, S3, Rendition etc. battled it out, so I doubt that part of the company will go either.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By Silverel on 12/7/2007 2:34:51 PM , Rating: 2
ATI is (was?) Canadian.

Anyway, if they get to the point they have to close the doors, its very likely someone will buy the remains and continue on competing with Intel.

I'm hoping for IBM personally.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By afkrotch on 12/8/2007 12:08:51 PM , Rating: 2
AMD is American. ATI was Canadian or is Canadian. Not sure what you'd call it now.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By gmofftarki on 12/5/2007 11:47:29 AM , Rating: 5
Keep in mind that despite AMD/ATi's current lack of superiority in any one section of the marketplace, they've put themselves into an interesting position strategically.

nVidia and Intel aren't getting along that well with regard to intellectual property and proprietary technologies. nVidia and AMD/ATi are direct competitors for a portion of the marketplace, as are Intel and AMD/ATi.

New Intel processors, to benefit from multiple GPUs on the newest chipsets, currently have to use Crossfire, ie. AMD/ATi graphics.

nVidia is being kept out of the loop on the new Intel chipset protocols, so, to continue moving forward, they're going to have to continue designing AMD chipsets.

Granted that neither nVidia or Intel will crash and burn, but the current situation is rather tenuously balanced, and if ATi positions themselves properly with a new product line ready to launch when something hits the fans, they'll be in a better position than now.

Personally, if I were in AMD/ATi's shoes, I'd focus on the GPU for now. 8800GT and G92 8800GTS are going to take all of the attention for about 4-6 weeks, and then there's the post-christmas buying depression. In mid-January to early February, release the 3990 (or whatever designation you prefer) and have it cream the equivalent nVidia, with the marketing being "No proprietary component requirements, but for best performance, use with the full Spider platform".

Has AMD messed up a lot in the very recent past? Sure. But I'm not convinced that they're past the point of no return, at least not yet.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By StevoLincolnite on 12/6/2007 10:32:04 AM , Rating: 3
Has AMD messed up a lot in the very recent past? Sure. But I'm not convinced that they're past the point of no return, at least not yet.

Which company hasn't? And you need to define "Flops" some regard the AMD K6 series a flop, when they were serious value for money, Others thing the Athlon 64 was a flop when in all realization pounded Intel for several years, and now they are great value for money, ATI' took awhile to get its drivers upto Gamers standards, and that paid off during the Radeon 9xxx, x8xx, x1xxx etc.
The Radeon x300, x600, x700, x800 series didn't have SM3, Unlike the Geforce 6 series that did, Although the really only notable feature of SM3 is HDR, and that can be performed on SM2b hardware with a few extra passes.

Intel apparently flopped with the Pentium 4/D - But they had an aggressive marketing strategy and still out gunned AMD in-terms of sales.

What I would like to see is the Athlon 64 line available in Single and Dual Core, Die Shrank and Available for Socket 754, 939 and AM2, at much lower prices, I know allot of people with Socket 754 and 939 Sempron's and would literally kill to be able to spend a small amount on upgrading they're processor without upgrading memory and motherboard, and in some cases Graphics cards.

Multi-GPU System are still only an enthusiast thing, its not something that you come across everyday unfortunately, And I personally cannot find a crossfire AMD board at any of my local computer stores, yet have plenty of choices when it comes to nVidia's SLI. - Although I live in a small town in South Australia which could be my issue.

One thing I would like to see in the chipset market is, Via's return to Performance/Enthusiast chipsets, that might heat the market up and lower prices.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By herrdoktor330 on 12/6/2007 11:14:32 PM , Rating: 2
2 things:

Don't get me wrong, guys. I love AMD and have been a loyal customers of theirs since the K6-2 days. However this Barcelona bug is a serious misstep. Since Intel has started this "tick-tock" practice, AMD is going to have to make some big improvements in the theoretical K11 to even come close to the offerings Intel will have.

Think about this: Nehalem is going to be the Conroe redesign with 4 cores on die that's coming out the end of next year. I'm sure they'll use the same trick they're using now to put 4 + 4 cores communicating through the FSB on one cpu. Plus I hear that they're going to be bringing back hyperthreading technology back on the high end Nehalem chips. So that roughly means 16 listed cores for the Intel powered system to use.

Then what happens if Skulltrail starts selling and they make a version of that chipset for Nehalem. That's a "possible" 32 listed cores on your machine. (This will be 2009's newest Apple Macintosh High End Workstation... you heard it here first. Mac fans will be proud.)

... but AMD can't even get 4 cores working properly. And who's going to bother with 3 cores? And they just killed their enthusiast package.

I know that there isn't a large portion of software that can successfully use more than 4 cores for now. But as more processing cores become available, software developers will find a way to scale to it. Once that happens, Intel's going to be getting all the kudos and AMD is going to have to build up again to try to be competative. Or they finish the bulldozer all-in-one platform they've been talking about and show how great and simple those can be. But no matter how you slice it, AMD is going to have an uphill battle to fight with Intel to win back the performance crown.

2nd thing about Via, I don't believe their angle is EVER going to be performance. They're way outclassed for that. From what I understand the C7 line has all the power of a PIII of equal or lesser clock speed. They make for great e-appliances, web surfers, and eco-friendly open home file servers (assuming you're not worried about raw transfer speed). But I'm going to go out on a limb to say they're never going to be a #1 performer ever as long as Intel and AMD are in the market. I like their philosophy though and would be inclined to buy their product if they could keep the power consumption low while offering more expandability to their boards (more PCIe, 4 or more SATA 3GB connections, and so on). If they could make the next "conroe" sized leap in performance while keeping consumption down (maybe the C8 line will do this), these would be the bomb for laptops.

But that's my opinion.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By FITCamaro on 12/5/2007 12:36:54 PM , Rating: 2
AMD is still doing quite well in the 4 and 8p server market.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By cochy on 12/5/2007 12:55:52 PM , Rating: 2
Sure. But for how much longer if CPU innovation and advances are seemingly coming to a crawl? Who's going to need a 4 or 8p server if and when Intel releases Octo-core and greater chips? Which we know they will, they have said that we should see a 32 core chip sooner rather than later. AMD is struggling with quad-core even. Do they have the resources for R&D now that they are a cash black-hole? If so for how much longer? If Intel and AMD continue down their current paths, not much longer.

With the current mounting loses can AMD compete with Intel and Nvidia? They need captial and they aren't going to get it from sales if they continue to have to lower prices. They can't function the way they did back in K6 days because they were a much smaller company then. Now they are AMD/ATI. Very bad timing to start losing quarter after quarter. They are in way bigger trouble then people may realize. They will need outside financing soon.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By Martimus on 12/5/2007 1:14:52 PM , Rating: 3
You are comparing apples to oranges. AMD is struggling with integrating a memory controller into a die with more than two cores. It kills the yeild in the manufacturing process. Intel doesn't have to worry about that, because they don't have IMC's, but at the same time, that cripples them in the server market. The FSB becomes a huge bottle neck the more processors there are to process the data, which is why the AMD solution is often better in those circumstances. Of course, that is such a small portion of the market that it isn't likely to make much of a difference in either sides bottom lines.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By cochy on 12/5/2007 1:26:04 PM , Rating: 2
Right. Correct me if I'm wrong. Intel's next gen coming next year will have IMC with QuickPath? So as I said: How much longer?

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By KristopherKubicki on 12/5/2007 1:38:27 PM , Rating: 2
Late 2008 for Nehalem.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By cochy on 12/5/2007 1:42:33 PM , Rating: 1
Exactly. So Intel is innovating their designs while AMD is standing still. That's moral of the story here.

Soon Opteron's biggest advantage is no more.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By Martimus on 12/5/2007 1:58:28 PM , Rating: 2
Who says that Intel won't have yeild problems with their integrated memory controllers? They have working parts, but so did AMD over a year ago. It doesn't mean that the 4 cores on one die and IMC to control how each accesses memory won't cause a production issue that will push back that timeframe. There are manufacturing issues that you aren't taking into account. I would be very surprised if Intel is on time with Nehalem, and if they are I would expect some major error like in the design that they will need to work out. You only have to look at what has happened to AMD with Barcelona to see that Intel should have similar problems with Nehalem. The two are very similar in the architecture portions that gave AMD problems, so you should expect Intel to have similar problems. They may be solved sooner, if Intel learns form AMD's problems, but I doubt that their agressive schedule will allow for anything but a paper launch in late 2008, if there is indeed a launch at all.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By cochy on 12/5/2007 2:33:50 PM , Rating: 3
Very true. But on that note with recent history in mind, my money is on Intel's ability to innovate chip design and solve said problems easier than AMD. Time will tell.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By Master Kenobi on 12/5/2007 5:57:30 PM , Rating: 2
Intel will be using the 45nm Process and High-K materials, AMD is using the SOI process and on 65nm.

In Intel's defense though, their track record for processes and yields has even beat the pants off of IBM. Make no mistake, when it comes to process nodes and ability to produce excellent yields, Intel is bar none, the best.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By jarthel on 12/5/2007 6:32:02 PM , Rating: 2
Intel may have problems with Nehalem and yields. BUT you have to remember that unlike AMD, Intel has loads of cash for R&D.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By Calin on 12/6/2007 8:09:13 AM , Rating: 2
Also, Intel is at least a year ahead of AMD on microprocessor front - maybe even more. So, even if Intel lets a year pass by because of problems/issues/whatever, they will still be in the better position.
I really hope from a huge success from AMD's Fusion. I am running at home an integrated graphics platform (AMD/ATI), and a Fusion-like architecture would bring better everything for integrated graphics.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By maven81 on 12/10/2007 1:21:51 PM , Rating: 2
You could say that AMD is a year behind in performance, and at least 6 months in process technology, but I don't think the same could be said about architecture.
Their 4 core chips are definitely slower then intel's but even if they do nothing but stick two of those on one die they could build an "8 core" chip before intel does. It just wouldn't have hyperthreading. Obviously this won't really be viable until 45nm, but if they can do that, it's an ace up their sleeve.
Their fusion program is also at least a year ahead of Intel and was the whole reason for buying ATI. I'm betting they knew Intel was heading in this direction, and wanted to beat them to the punch. If they can push out actual products based on that design on time, they still have the advantage. However, the "on time" part is what's killing AMD.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By 91TTZ on 12/6/2007 7:54:06 AM , Rating: 2
You are comparing apples to oranges. AMD is struggling with integrating a memory controller into a die with more than two cores

I don't think the problem is with integrating a memory controller into a die with more than two cores, I think the problem is just the more general problem of having multiple cores on one die. That's why Intel does it on multiple dies- to increase yield. Intel is known for its yields and increasing yield (and profitability) seems to be a very high priority for them when designing a CPU.

If you notice, AMD announced that it will be selling tri-core CPUs. They're not doing this just because they think a 3 core CPU is a neat idea, they're doing it because they have tons of 4 core dies with a bad core on them.

It was the same reason that Intel made the 486SX years ago- it wasn't that they thought that consumers wanted a 486 without a math coprocessor, it was because they had lots of 486DX dies with a bad coprocessor on them. Instead of scrapping those chips, they disabled part of the die and were still able to sell them, just for a slightly lower price.

RE: AMD's new Sempron
By Martimus on 12/6/2007 12:56:06 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, but the integrated memory controller keeps AMD from being able to slap two dies on a single chip. Nehalem is a huge change for Intel, as they will be going through the same things AMD is with this problem. I expect them to fix them faster than AMD has (or hasn't I guess), but don't be surprized if the chip gets delayed. The closest chip to Nehalem's architecture is Barcelona/Phenom, and that has had nothing but issues.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007
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