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Print 33 comment(s) - last by Viditor.. on May 28 at 7:20 PM


AMD's AM2 processor die

AMD Athlon 64 X2 quick reference guide
AMD's desktop platform get a major overhaul

It is official, today is the day AMD will finally announce the AM2 platform for desktop processors.  AMD originally had plans to launch the chipset on June 6, 2006, but shortly after the announcement that Intel's Core 2 Duo processor would launch at the same time, AMD bumped the launch date up to May 23, 2006

AMD's AM2 platform consists of a new socket and pin-out for AMD's desktop processors. AM2 uses 940-pins, just like the existing Socket 940, but the the new pin-out means PGA-ZIF AM2 and PGA-ZIF Socket 940 processors are not compatible.  The major difference between AM2 processors and Socket 939/940 processors is the migration from DDR1 to DDR2.  Since the introduction of the K8 architecture in 2003, AMD has opted to place the memory controller on its entire line of desktop, mobile and server processors.  As a result, new AMD processors do not need complete motherboard revamps, but motherboard manufacturers still have to accommodate for much denser DDR2 pin-outs.

DDR2 was first introduced by Intel in June of 2004 when the company migrated from Socket 478 to Socket 775.  At the time, the cost premium between DDR2-533 and DDR1-400 was vast, and performance differences between DDR2 and DDR1 were virtually non-existent.  The cost of DDR2 has dropped dramatically in the last two years, but the important thing about the AM2 launch is that AMD's AM2 processors will support DDR2 speeds in excess of DDR2-800.  Coupled with the NVIDIA SLI memory initiative, we can realistically expect to see memory frequencies in the 1GHz range with AM2. 

AM2 is a unified platform, meaning high end Athlon 64 dual-core processors, low end single-core processors and everything in between uses the same socket design.  Previously, AMD split its desktop offerings over three separate platforms, Socket 940 for the ultra high end, Socket 939 for midrange and Socket 754 for low end.  This division of platforms severely hampered manufacturer ability to produce competitively priced motherboards. 

The major processors set for launch, the Athlon 64 FX-62 and the Athlon 64 X2 5000+, are both 90nm SOI processors produced at AMD's Fab 30 in Dreseden, Germany.  Like other Athlon processors, models alternate between 2MB and 1MB of L2 cache.  The smaller 1MB L2 cache processors (5000+, 4600+, 4200+ and 3800+) have just under 154M transistors on a 183mm2 Windsor die.  The 2MB L2 cache processors (FX-62, 4800+, 4400+ and 4000+) have approximately 227M transistors and have a 230mm2 Windsor die as well.  AMD is not distinguishing between the two cores with separate code names even though the one core has half of the cache disabled.   Single core Athlon 64 Orleans and Sempron Manila processors will also hit store shelves shortly.  A full list of SKUs is available at AMDCompare.com

AM2 processors will also carry all the trimmings one would expect to find -- SSE/2/3 and MMX support, Cool n' Quiet power management, EVP "data only" no-execute bits and AMD's Pacifica Virtualization technology.  AM2 will launch with 90nm SOI components only, but the company has already released roadmaps to produce 65nm SOI Brisbane processors by the end of the year. AMD's next major processor architecture after AM2 will be K8L, which was also just recently announced.

NVIDIA, ATI, SIS and VIA all have AM2 chipsets scheduled to launch with AM2.  Existing core logic will work with AM2, as evidenced by the number of motherboard manufacturers building nForce 4 AM2 motherboards. However, most manufacturers are opting for next generation instead.  NVIDIA plans to launch several chipsets tomorrow, including nForce 590 and nForce 570. ATI's RD580 will also make an appearance on the AM2 platform, with RD550 close by. VIA's K8T890 will be the dominant VIA Northbridge for AM2, and manufacturers already expect several models to ship this week or next. 

The existing 939-pin Athlon and Sempron processors will continue to hold some channel presence, but AMD roadmaps have already shown the company plans to phase out Socket 939 in favor of Socket 754 as a DDR1 solution. AMD is also beginning to phase out Socket 940 in favor of LGA DDR2 Socket F, which is expected to ship this July. 

AMD claims processors and motherboards should be available tomorrow, but most tier one motherboard manufacturers expect availability in early June instead to coincide with the original launch date.  Pricing for the new chips was revealed several weeks ago, which is still available on DailyTech here.

Just last week, AMD announced a lineup of Energy Efficient (EE) Socket AM2 processors.  The Energy Efficient AM2 processors are designed specifically for low-noise, low-heat systems -- which include AMD's Live! platform expected to launch on May 31st.  AM2 EE processors carry a small premium over standard AM2 processors, but run at very low voltages.

We've previewed a few AM2 motherboards on DailyTech already; here are links to a few of them:
Universal Abit KN9 SLI
Gigabyte AM2 Motherboard Launch Schedule
ASUS AM2 Motherboard Launch Schedule
MSI AM2 Motherboards
Epox AM2 Motherboard Launch Schedule


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socket f
By vorgusa on 5/22/2006 12:16:39 PM , Rating: 2
anyone know anything about socket F?? I would think it would be unusual to add all those extra pins if they are just going to add DDR2 like AM2. The only thing I can think of is to help have future support for quad core processors.




RE: socket f
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 5/22/06, Rating: 0
RE: socket f
By eetnoyer on 5/22/2006 1:03:41 PM , Rating: 2
I was also under the impression that Socket F would provide for more cHTT links for scalability above 4-socket systems.


RE: socket f
By tuteja1986 on 5/22/2006 1:24:24 PM , Rating: 2
Well i am buying a new computer next month but i will have to see the performance and cost between AM2 vs Intel Core Duo 2.


RE: socket f
By UCanUnwind on 5/22/2006 4:54:38 PM , Rating: 1
Hopefully you aren't waiting for the Core Duo 2 (Conroe) systems because this article wrongly implies that they will be out next month, which is not true. Early reports put the Intel chip to ship in July (probably late in July), with the laptop variant following in August. I'm also waiting to see what I want to buy, but i'll probably get the Intel chip which mean I'll have to wait until probably august to buy.


RE: socket f
By mendocinosummit on 5/22/2006 5:12:28 PM , Rating: 2
Won't Conroe have DRM built into it?


RE: socket f
By Viditor on 5/22/2006 7:59:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Hopefully you aren't waiting for the Core Duo 2 (Conroe) systems because this article wrongly implies that they will be out next month, which is not true


Agreed...They are shipping to OEMs in July. However, not even Intel expects them to hit the retail market until Aug/Sep


RE: socket f
By degeester on 5/22/2006 11:36:04 PM , Rating: 2
With Otellini "incredibly disappointed" with the largest OEM vacuum cleaner of Intel chips, maybe more Core Duo chips will go to others.


RE: socket f
By AggressorPrime on 5/22/2006 3:29:46 PM , Rating: 2
K8L has 5 HT 3.0 links and might not use Socket F.
Socket F (Opteron) has 1207 pins and uses those to support quad cores for Opterobs. Everything else is the same.


RE: socket f
By AggressorPrime on 5/22/2006 3:30:44 PM , Rating: 2
K8L has 5 HT 3.0 links and might not use Socket F.
Socket F (Opteron) has 1207 pins and uses those to support quad cores for Opterons. Everything else is the same.


RE: socket f
By Viditor on 5/28/2006 7:19:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Socket F (Opteron) has 1207 pins and uses those to support quad cores for Opterons

I think you don't understand what those 5 HT links are for...
Since the 4 cores are connected by an internal crossbar in quad-core, the only reason you would need extra pins is for extra cHT links (the extra internal cores don't require them).


RE: socket f
By Discord on 5/22/2006 1:10:31 PM , Rating: 2
Read up on all of the features supported by the new K8L cores. This is everything that the new socket F sockets will be supporting. It is a lot more than just the added support for DDR2.
You have DDR3, FB and HT3 to name a few of the bigger feature changes. BTW, a quad core would not add any extra pins to the socket.


RE: socket f
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 5/22/2006 1:12:39 PM , Rating: 2
K8L will most likely use a new socket


RE: socket f
By Discord on 5/22/2006 2:21:27 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know, everything I see references the 1207 as the next generation Opteron. I remember reading your Deer/Greyhound post, but I swear I saw a roadmap a while back that contradicted that info. I'm too lazy to go back and try to research so I'll still stick to my guns and say that socket F is K8L compatible.
You a betting man Topher? I'll wager 30 digi-dollars. Good for a free one scoop sundae a the local Soda Fountain.


RE: socket f
By Viditor on 5/28/2006 7:20:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
K8L will most likely use a new socket

Why do you say that, Kris?


Socket 754... what the
By bighairycamel on 5/22/2006 3:30:29 PM , Rating: 1
I guess I missed the news, but AMD sounds a little stupid for phasing out 939 in favor of 754. Since when does technology revert in favor of older platforms???




RE: Socket 754... what the
By DeathByDuke on 5/22/2006 3:43:48 PM , Rating: 2
older = more obsolete?

in that case, 754 isnt. Its the same, minus one memory channel. Also, cheaper to make since its less pins and traces. And, its used in all the laptops. Hence, longer lifespan since 754 based laptops will still be coming out.


RE: Socket 754... what the
By mendocinosummit on 5/22/2006 5:15:13 PM , Rating: 2
New laptop socket will be S1. I wonder if Semprons will be made for that to.


RE: Socket 754... what the
By xdrol on 5/22/2006 4:50:33 PM , Rating: 2
Not in favor of S754, in favor of AM2.


Memories
By ViperROhb34 on 5/23/2006 8:14:23 AM , Rating: 2

I remember the days that AMD has just released the Athlon.. maybe around 7rs ago. The backlash - since most people had Pentiums - from fanboys was huge.

I told people for yrs that their quality for performance was unmatchable.

It's good to finally see AMD has grown up- they are still a small company - nimble and able to change quickly. Now to see them with the latest platforms and technology gives me satisfying feeling.

Even if Intel has better stuff.. they'll never dominate like before.. I think this will keep prices down for quite some time.

GO AMD !




RE: Memories
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 5/23/2006 1:27:02 PM , Rating: 1
Well the tables have really come full circle here. AM2 doesn't really do anything for AMD, ok so you use DDR2 like the rest of us Intel folks have for the past year. But as far as performance goes, theres really nothing to gain. I'll give them props for pushing a new line of chips that have lower power requirements but again theyre raising the price point on already overpriced AMD chips. It's almost to the point right now where I can buy 2 Pentium D chips for a comparable AMD X2 chip. I don't care that I get 5 more FPS with the AMD chip, for the price its not worth it when I can use that saved money to get 25 more FPS when I buy the better Mobo/Ram.

Hopefully AMD drops the price on the processors, as of right now they simply don't deliver enough performance over Intel to warrant the large price gap. K8L maybe, but not AM2. then again AM2 is nothing but a new socket where as K8L is an architectural improvement.


RE: Memories
By TomZ on 5/24/2006 7:12:24 PM , Rating: 2
Slightly OT, but I notice on DT if you talk positive about AMD or negative about Intel, people bump your rating higher, and conversely, if you talk negative about AMD or postive about Intel, people bump your rating down. That's pretty lame, if you ask me.


RE: Memories
By animedude on 5/28/2006 1:59:58 AM , Rating: 2
You are paying AMD64, which boosts 30-40% performance on 64bit apps. Does Pentium D provide it? Pentium D is cheap, but why would I buy something that will become obselete? If I want to buy anything from Intel, it will be Core 2 Duo chips.


Dual channel Semprons?
By peldor on 5/22/2006 1:43:14 PM , Rating: 2
Is there any technical reason AMD wouldn't give AM2 Semprons dual-channel capability now? The memory controller doesn't look to be a big % of the die space, so I don't think there's a lot of cost savings there (if any, does a dual-channel IMC take twice the space?).




RE: Dual channel Semprons?
By Tyler 86 on 5/22/2006 2:59:20 PM , Rating: 2
No, still more than a single channel controller though. Go figure.


RE: Dual channel Semprons?
By coldpower27 on 5/22/2006 4:31:21 PM , Rating: 2

Actually the changes on these Rev.F processor make them bigger then their Rev.E versions for whatever reasons, Windsor is larger then Toledo, and if that is anything to go on, Orleans will be larger then Venice as well as Manilla larger then Palermo.

Anything on Socket AM2 is Dual Channel, considering the Semprons got a +200 to their performance rating of equal clockspeed and cache.


Die Plot Aspect Ratio?
By kirbalo on 5/22/2006 5:20:56 PM , Rating: 2
Anyone else notice that the die plot shown above doesn't match the aspect ratio of the actual processor pictures floating around in some reviews...the die looks more rectangular in real life than that die plot.

Just observing...




RE: Die Plot Aspect Ratio?
By KristopherKubicki (blog) on 5/22/2006 5:39:56 PM , Rating: 2
The only way to see the die of an AMD CPU is to rip the heat spreader off. While the heatspread itself is square, the die (which is much smaller) is usually rectangle.

I haven't ripped one apart yet so I do not entirely know what shape it is.


RE: Die Plot Aspect Ratio?
By kirbalo on 5/22/2006 8:41:23 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks Kris, I'm quite aware...

Take a look here to see a picture of the Turion X2...

http://www.hardwarezone.com/articles/view.php?id=1...

There are other, actual, non-stock pictures around the web that look the same as their stock photo wrt aspect ratio..


At the right time &.......
By crystal clear on 5/23/2006 3:23:40 AM , Rating: 2

"Intel to fend off AMD low-power challenge with May 28 price cuts of Core Duo."

Your response was:
RE: News NEWS NEWS.....
By KristopherKubicki on 5/20/2006 2:20:37 PM , Rating: 2

The updates on the 28th are only on a few low end Core Duos. I'll publish a full article later today.

I think now is the right time to get that article out.
It gives the readers a deeper insight of the new developments underway.




RE: At the right time &.......
By crystal clear on 5/23/2006 9:48:22 AM , Rating: 2
Thanks read it now-clears up lot of confusion.
Your article on AM2 was good but you forget to close of the fine article with a AM2 Cpu pricing list (table).


Turion and AMD Notebook CPUs
By digipix on 5/27/2006 4:07:56 PM , Rating: 1
I have read through this and I am not clear on if the Turion X2 is part of the AM2 family. Also I am assuming the EE Energy Efficient processors may be used in notebooks. In general just wondering how this will effect and which of these will be available for mobile/laptop computing.




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