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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 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 (blog) 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 (blog) 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
quote:
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.


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