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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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It's only fair....
By RussianSensation on 12/5/2007 11:08:49 AM , Rating: 2
When the design of the Opteron/A64 architecture was completed in early 2003, AMD has had more than 4 years now to release something much faster. Phenom is about 15-20% faster than A64 per clock now?

When the management and engineering departments sat down 4 years ago, what did they aim to achieve in terms of performance? I don't think Ruiz is the only one to blame here. Personally, the head engineers in charge of the design are at least as responsible for this.

Although you won't know the exact performance of the part you design but you can logically extrapolate. It doesn't take a genius to look at the bottlenecks of K8, look at the evolution of software coding and ask yourself where you can increase performance. IF their engineers couldn't achieve performance above 20% from the start AMD should have hired smarter people to do the job.

In the end the value of your human capital is invaluable. If Intel designed Core 2 Duo so can AMD if they hired the right people. Intel is just a name, not some magical mysterious company that can do "wonders." If AMD didn't feel at the time they could afford the brightest people then they shouldn't have spent all that $ buying ATI...

RE: It's only fair....
By bull2760 on 12/5/2007 11:15:18 AM , Rating: 2
When a company posts as many losses as AMD has over the past couple of years you need to step back and look at the leaders. GM did it Crysler did it, it's time for Ruiz to step down. Yes others will have to go But you need to start at the top and right now Ruiz is the man.

RE: It's only fair....
By retrospooty on 12/5/2007 11:43:46 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with you there. Granted, Ruiz in not in engineering and doesn't directly effect die's and yields, the fact of the matter is that since Ruiz took over AMD hasn't executed anything well at all. That may or may not be Ruiz's fault, it may just have been bad luck, but the fact remains, he does not seem to be able to motivate people. AMD needs to be motivated.

Intel had the same issues a few years back. They were missing deadlines, changing specs at the last minute to accomodate for flaws, etc etc... Then they reorganized and recomitted to becoming #1 again, and started to execute perfectly again. AMD needs to do the same thing, and they can... given the right leadership.

RE: It's only fair....
By cochy on 12/5/2007 1:05:16 PM , Rating: 2
Is the next step huge layoffs and rollbacks?

Well no. Intel may be just a name, but they also have an order of magnitude more capital to spend on that all-important R&D you're mentioning.

RE: It's only fair....
By cochy on 12/5/2007 1:06:00 PM , Rating: 2
Quoted the wrong post there. Quote should read:

Intel is just a name, not some magical mysterious company that can do "wonders."

"Death Is Very Likely The Single Best Invention Of Life" -- Steve Jobs
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