AMD also gave us a brief update on 45nm, stating that they have successfully produced a SRAM test wafer at 45nm.  It's very popular to produce a wafer full of SRAM chips as you're bringing up and validating any new process, since the circuits are simple enough to actually make the chips producable but complex enough to get useful feedback on your process from the test wafer. 

AMD's 45nm SRAM test wafer follows a little over 3 months after Intel demonstrated a similar 45nm test wafer.  The benchmark when producing a wafer of SRAM is how small you're able to produce each SRAM cell. At 45nm Intel was able to achieve a 0.346 square micron SRAM cell size compared to AMD's 0.370 square micron SRAM cells.  Intel's advantage in SRAM cell size is nothing new, as they have been doing so in previous process technologies as well.  The advantage in SRAM cell size is one reason why you often see Intel more eager to equip its CPUs with larger L2 caches; obviously with no on-die memory controller, Intel also often benefits much more from a larger L2 cache than AMD in the first place. 


Intel's 45nm SRAM test vehicle - 0.346 sq micron cell size

Today's update had nothing to do with Socket-AM2 or AMD's transition to DDR2, but we do have some news with regards to that as well.  As you've undoubtedly heard and maybe even seen elsewhere, AMD's AM2 platform has not been performing very well in development over these past couple of months.  Just before IDF, AM2 samples were still performing lower than their Socket-939 counterparts, which was beginning to worry us and AMD's parters a bit.  However we're excited to report that AM2 performance has finally started exceeding that of Socket-939.  The performance gains we've been hearing and seeing are generally 5% or lower at the same clock speeds using DDR2-800, but it's still very early.  The main point to take home is while the final verdict is still not out, AM2 is at least starting to look like more of an upgrade and not what we saw with Intel's DDR to DDR2 transition almost 2 years ago. 

There's still a lot that AMD does have to give us however, including a more specific roadmap of what comes after their DDR2 transition.  AMD's Phil Hester has publicly stated that once AM2 launches it will be more forthcoming with information on future architecture revisions, we can only hope so because over the past 12 months Intel has put the pressure on AMD to really start talking about the future.  

The good news today is that AMD is truly growing as a company.  By 2008 AMD hopes to be able to double its yearly shipments of microprocessors, and it's finally got manufacturing capacity to do just that.  For the past few years AMD has held technological and performance advantages over Intel, now it's time for AMD to play catchup on the manufacturing side.  AMD has a long way to go before being anywhere close to Intel's manufacturing abilities, but it is in a very good place today.

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  • Calin - Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - link

    Yes, AMD's stock might go down some - and Intel's stock might go up. By the improvements they have now for the AM2 socket and DDR2, I think AMD won't stomp all over Intel this time - and might even be at a performance disadvantage. Even if Intel gets to equal performance with AMD, it will be a hit against AMD (but maybe not so much for Intel).
    So, it might be good to sell AMD stocks and wait for a better time - some time before AMD transition to 65nm. Buying Intel... I wouldn't
    Reply
  • Griswold - Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - link

    I would be worried (if I had any AMD stocks) if Intel actually had something on the server front to compete. It doesnt matter what woodcrest looks like in 6-9 months, customers in the corporate server world arent early adopters. They will stick to Opterons and netburst Xeons for at least a year. This is where AMD sees their biggest profit gain in the next few years - and rightfully so.

    And while I cant stand the Inquirer, if its true that the K8L core for the Opteron sports twice the FPU units, woodcrest might indeed have more than just one problem to be competitive in quite a few server business segments.

    With that said, if Opteron sales keep growing, AMDs shares wont likely go down. They might not keep going up as they did over the last years, even if AMD has no good answer to conroe anytime soon. But thats just the desktop market, which has taken the backseat on their priority list some time ago, in favor of server and mobile segments.
    Reply
  • Calin - Thursday, April 06, 2006 - link

    Yes, I guess a big part of AMD production capacity could be absorbed into the server/workstation market, where prices are the greatest (and profits too). I don't know the ratio between workstation/server market and desktop market, but especially considering the decrease in desktop market (in favor of laptop), AMD really can leave the desktop market undefended.
    They will have a hard time competing in the low power laptop market - even if in the high performance laptop market they are doing fine.
    Reply
  • phaxmohdem - Tuesday, April 04, 2006 - link

    Or you could dump it into GM. I hear they're doing well ;) Reply
  • DSaum - Tuesday, April 04, 2006 - link

    Since your so called conroe review where you showed your Intel bias, why do you expect AMD to tell you anything substantive about their plans or processes?
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Tuesday, April 04, 2006 - link

    Just because they showed AMD in a really unfaouvrable doesn't mean their Intel biased. It means AMD has to get it's ass up and actually try to compete for a change. Not just sit their charging tons of money for their Dual Cores. Reply
  • Viditor - Wednesday, April 05, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Not just sit their charging tons of money for their Dual Cores

    Huh? Their Dual cores are cheap! If you compare price/performance to Intel, they are only a fraction of the cost...
    Just because AMD doesn't make super-low-end Dual Cores is no reason to call the ones they make expensive...
    While this may change (or not) at a future date, it certainly is the case now.
    Reply
  • Questar - Thursday, April 06, 2006 - link

    No, they are not cheap.

    PD 805 is $110 - retail with HSF.

    What's AMD got that cheap? A Sempron?
    Reply
  • Viditor - Thursday, April 06, 2006 - link

    quote:

    What's AMD got that cheap? A Sempron?

    Yes, exactly...a Sempron that most assuredly outperforms the 805. Of course that wouldn't be the case for the few who overclock, but they are a miniscule portion of the market.
    Dual core doesn't always mean faster...
    Reply
  • Questar - Friday, April 07, 2006 - link

    Yeah, a Sempron can out perform a dual core P4.

    Dude, statements like that just destroy your credibility.
    You should give it a rest.
    Reply

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