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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: Goodbye AMD
By murphyslabrat on 12/5/2007 11:07:47 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, like imagine if Intel had've stuck with re-iterating the original Pentium instead of giving us the next generation of computing with Netburst...</sarcasm>

Not quite an acurate parallel, but it stands.

RE: Goodbye AMD
By iFX on 12/5/2007 11:52:20 AM , Rating: 1
No it doesn't stand. Netburth was a flaming POS, and K8 is a revolutionary, highly efficient CPU design that until mid 2006 was top dog. It has a long life left if AMD is smart.

RE: Goodbye AMD
By TomZ on 12/5/2007 12:33:25 PM , Rating: 2
Nah, the only future K8 has is if AMD sells 'em cheap. It doesn't compare to Core 2 either performance wise or in terms of energy efficiency. The only other possible angle is to make them cheap enough so that performance/dollar competes with Intel at this point. And in the meantime, Intel is not standing still either...

RE: Goodbye AMD
By mindless1 on 12/5/2007 11:16:56 PM , Rating: 2
They already were, beating Intel in by far the most popular price segment, the under $140 and more recently under $85 category.

Their future depends on lowering manufacturing costs and securing more OEM contracts, because AMD was in 2nd place, is in 2nd place, and will continue to be in 2nd place to Intel. It's not a competition with Intel for performance or efficiency, it's a competition to provide a cost effective solution to OEMs.

RE: Goodbye AMD
By murphyslabrat on 12/6/2007 1:22:13 PM , Rating: 2
The only problem with that is that a consumer will read stuff like, "Intel CPU's overclock like crazy", and "AMD just can't beat Intel when it comes to ultra-high performance"; and they'll go with an Intel CPU, assuming that these reports have a bearing on SOHO.

So, in other words, the "more educated" consumers that we have nowadays, as a result of Intel's Netburst, will go with an Intel CPU. Short of that, we have the domnodies that have absolutely no clue, and will probably end up buying a Netburst Celeron/Pentium D.

RE: Goodbye AMD
By 16nm on 12/5/2007 1:06:24 PM , Rating: 1
K8 and Conroe are just evoluntionary Pentium Pro/P2/P3 designs. There's nothing Revolutionary about K8. Netburst was just a weird design to wow the buyer with great megahertz numbers. Intel thought they could design the long pipeline to be very intelligent wrt instruction ordering and achieve great performance but that never happened. The ultra long pipelined Prescott was supposed to be the pinnacle of this effort but it was a total flop, but boy did Intel ever learn a lot about manufacturing processes with it. It catapolted them to where they are today. Their manufacturing processes are the absolute best. Wait till they fine tune their high k metal gate 45nm process (something AMD do not even have in the works). It will be something to behold, I'm sure.

AMD need to get some of the Intel Mojo in their 65nm process. I suspect it's mostly a question of dinero standing in the way of their success right now. And that's too bad, because it doesn't seem as though they'll be earning a whole lot any time soon.

RE: Goodbye AMD
By weskurtz0081 on 12/5/2007 1:29:54 PM , Rating: 2
AMD and IBM are working on HKMG's actually, and we MIGHT see them by the end of next year.

RE: Goodbye AMD
By 16nm on 12/5/2007 2:14:55 PM , Rating: 2
That's good news. I've only heard that IBM had high k 45nm but that AMD were not interested (in paying for it, probably). I do know with certainty that AMD's current 45nm effort is of the low k gate variety.

It's very good to hear that IBM and AMD are working on high k together. I hope AMD lessen their focus on a single die quad and concentrate their efforts on dual core and dual die quad core chips. From a manufacturing standpoint, this seems to make sense, and performance does not appear to be a huge issue (Kentsfield > Phenom).

RE: Goodbye AMD
By weskurtz0081 on 12/5/2007 4:50:10 PM , Rating: 2
good post. The first round of AMD 45nm will indeed be SOI, and they are supposed to switch over to HK after they release and get the 45nm process working fairly well. It probably will not be until 09 until we see it, but they are working on it.

RE: Goodbye AMD
By murphyslabrat on 12/5/2007 2:17:32 PM , Rating: 2
The comparison I am making is to the negative step away from a very capable little brother. Netburst was an all-new design, while Barcelona is an evolutionary step; however, neither were any better than their precursor. Netburst, as you said, was a flaming POS, and Barcelona is so much more costly (money, R&D, and transister/silicon-wise) for similar performance compared to K-8. Amd would probably have done better by sticking to pathway optimization, silicon and transistor innovation, and, possibly, channeling it directly into die-shrink R&D. As is, we have something, that at present, was a catastrophic waste.

Maybe we just aren't seeing the full fruition of the technologies that debuted with Barcelona, but the suspicious absence is akin to the massive performance increases promised with Netburst.

BTW, few things make me as angry as Netburst. Do you realize that, barring available platform-specific considerations--memory-speed, FSB-bandwidth, etc--the Tualatin revision of the Pentium III not only performed much better than the Pentium 4, but had a die-size of approximately half of a same-node Pentium 4. The only shortcoming is in FLOPS, where the Pentium III and Pentium 4 were about even, clock-for-clock.

At least AMD hasn't pulled that one on us...yet. And I sure as hell hope we never see anything like the Pentium III-to-Netburst again.

RE: Goodbye AMD
By StevoLincolnite on 12/6/2007 10:49:03 AM , Rating: 2
The Tualatin was actually very poor at clock speed ramping, it was more of a test of the new process node that would eventually be used for the Pentium 4 Northwood, the Willamatte still used the same fabrication nodes as the Pentium 3 coppermine, the other notable thing is, that the Celeron Tualatin actually performed about the same as the Coppermine clock for clock (Even while it had a 33% advantage in bandwidth).

Besides the Pentim 4 wasn't all that bad, think of it like this.
Intel Used the Pentium 3 Tualatin, Retrofitted it with the Pentium 4's Front side bus, Advanced tree predictor, Doubled/Quadrupled the cache and made it more energy efficient, and extended/improved the pipeline and called it a Pentium M, which is what our new beloved Core 2 Duo's are all based on, which clock for clock slaughtered the Pentium 4.

RE: Goodbye AMD
By murphyslabrat on 12/22/2007 1:05:03 PM , Rating: 2
the Celeron Tualatin actually performed about the same as the Coppermine clock for clock

Yes, while it had one half to one quarter of the L2 cache. If anything, that's a testament to the versatility of the P6 core.

And why couldn't Intel have done all of that whithout the Pentium 4?

RE: Goodbye AMD
By gusc3669 on 12/5/2007 12:13:15 PM , Rating: 2
I am not an IT person, but I agree that while playing "one-ups" by producing a chip that is faster (clockwise) than the competitor's chip is not the way to go (eventually), it did sell chips back in the Pentium era, along with bragging rights, until AMD took a next step and produced their Athlon (Socket A) chips. I still own a Socket A computer and remember that it was not the fastest when I purchased it, but it was more efficient and could perform operations on par or better than the faster, more expensive, Pentiums.

AMD needs this "next step" in innovation if it is to remain competitive and get back to its desired profitability. Yes, you could compete in the "budget" arena but not if the competition is providing equal or better offerings at relatively the same price point. AMD would also need to ramp up the volume sold if it wants to go this route which does not seem to be occurring as the majority of new the Dell/HP/Corporate mainstream purchases are Intel based (at least in the various companies I've been associated with). Making their products on the 65nm die, increasing the clock rate, and possibly lowering the price is fine if they want to remain competitive and sell some chips, but don't cut the other items which add to the chips overall performance.

RE: Goodbye AMD
By 91TTZ on 12/6/2007 7:58:08 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, like imagine if Intel had've stuck with re-iterating the original Pentium instead of giving us the next generation of computing with Netburst...</sarcasm>

That's sort of what they ended up doing. They scrapped the Netburst idea and went back to reworking the Pentium Pro design.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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