AMD 2004 CPU Roadmap Update

by Anand Lal Shimpi on 1/13/2004 2:06 AM EST


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  • cyberphant0m - Monday, February 16, 2004 - link

    I think that both AMD and Intel will have to play their cards carefully, lest the competition swoop up the market and gain ground... If anything, Intel will need to play catch up for a while, seeing as how the Prescott release is quite weak, and it doesn't seem as if they have much left to release for a while. On the other side of the battlefield, AMD had a great release with the Athlon 64 / FX... plus they're readying the next group of CPUs to release...

    Things we get really heated when DDRII ram becomes supported, PCI-X devices are release, and we see major changes to the architecture...
  • Icewind - Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - link

    History repeats itself.

    Need I say more? This is the same kinda arguing I saw back in the days of Pentium 4's launch and AMD's rising Athlon star.

    An uninformed rich person building a computer and his money will be soon parted. Do your research before you build or be part of AMD's marketing team or buy a dell and stop whining.

    Actually, intial tests show the dual channel to be less reliant on lat timings and even more overclockable, but I lost the damn links again.
  • Pumpkinierre - Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - link

    My understanding, #57, from an X-bit article is that the A64 memory controller runs at processor speed so it would have to drop cycles to interface with slower memory. However AMD would tune the controller to the specified memory speed, so it will respond better with this particular memory speed. With the a64 memory ie RAM latency is paramount so faster memory is better. In the absence of this, cache can decrease memory access latency for applications with high data/command succession predictability. eg 2D apps. So if the DDR 333 is low latency it might be worth buying a 1Mb cache A64 for the extra ~$60 rather than DDR400 slow latency RAM for ~$100 (512K) if the main use is other than gaming.

    Anantech in their conclusion of the 3400+ Pt.2 article promise an article with varying clock speed probably using the below stock variability of the a64 multiplier. This will of course vary the memory speed so you may be able to glean the information on memory/performance/cache variability you seek from this.

    Aktering the multiplier varies the cpu speed but not the RAM speed. So you go asynchronous and out of step with the AMD memory controller tuning. So certain combinations of clock speed and multiplier will be more stable than others. This is not just true for a64 but also A-XP and even P4 (when using lower speed RAM). However these have a northbridge to smooth the RAM-CPU transition. This is not present for the a64 so multiplier affected speed changes are going to have a greater affect on stability.

    I havent posted much particularly on 256K L2 A64s (much to Reflex's bewilderment) as I am away on holidays using a friend's integrated graphics 845GLV (I think?) and forgotten my password. Dont worry about the switched off 64 bit, they'll turn it back on once WIN64 appears and it will be a great little chip (all you need). Pity about the dual bank controller but the single bank might be faster on the latency front and more overclockable.
  • johnsonx - Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - link


    You make several very interesting points. I hadn't sat and thought about the fact that the various delay cycles may be the same in absolute cycles, but the cycles themselves are correspondingly longer at the lower clock frequencies. Excellent observation. You are correct also that DDR does not help with the cycle delays - those are full cycle delays, even though actual data is transferred twice per cycle.

    Regarding the memory controller, here is one of several places I've read that the DRAM interface is actually clocked using a divisor of the CPU core frequency:

    This implies in turn that using DDR-266 RAM is no more or less sycnhronous than using DDR-400 RAM. In a sense, it's all asynchronous, but I think the new design really makes the old distinctions we've gotten so used to obsolete.
  • TrogdorJW - Monday, January 19, 2004 - link

    JuohnsonX, I believe that you are mistaken on the point of whether or not the memory speeds are synchronous/asynchronous on the Athlon 64. It's the same as any other platform.

    (Incidentally, I looked around a bit for results showing how an Athlon 64 with PC2100/PC2700 compares to a PC3200 setup, but I couldn't find anything useful. Opteron results showed a 3% to 25% increase with PC3200 instead of PC2700, but the Opteron is slightly different. Plus, you're talking about PC2100. And the set of benchmarks was not very useful, since there were no games or office applications in what I found - it was mostly theoretical benchmarks.)

    The reason running PC2100 (266 MHz or 133 MHz DDR) memory is ansynchronous is because the system bus is still running at 200 MHz (double-pumped yields 400 MHz). So if you run 166 or 133 MHz DDR, your memory and system bus are not at the same speed. That's where the big penalties come from.

    Of course, as you've mentioned, the question is how *much* of a penalty you incur by running with asynchronous timings. My guess is that, as always, it will affect real application performance by anywhere from 3% to 33%, with the average probably being around 10%. (Just make sure none of the applications you depend on are in the 20+ percent penalty group!)

    Some other thoughts: The SDRAM cycle time is based off of the *memory* clock speed. So when you read memory timings of 2-3-2-6, for example, that's CAS 2.0, RAS-to-CAS 3.0, RAS Precharge 2.0, and Active to Precharge of 6.0, all at the memory clock. Two examples follow, one with 133 MHz DDR (PC2100) and the other with 200 MHz DDR (PC3200), both with the same timings of 2-3-2-6.

    PC2100: (133 MHz clock)
    CAS 2.0 = 15 ns = 30 CPU clock cycles.
    tRCD 3.0 = 23 ns = 46 CPU clock cycles.
    tRP 2.= 15 ns = 30 CPU clock cycles.
    tRAS 6.0 = 45 ns = 90 CPU clock cycles.

    PC3200: (200 MHz clock)
    CAS 2.0 = 10 ns = 20 CPU clock cycles.
    tRCD 3.0 = 15 ns = 30 CPU clock cycles.
    tRP 2.= 10 ns = 20 CPU clock cycles.
    tRAS 6.0 = 30 ns = 60 CPU clock cycles.

    So, not only is memory bandwidth reduced, but latency is increased. At least, that's my understanding of things. (Anyone who knows better can feel free to correct me. Maybe DDR halves all of those? I don't think so, though. DDR only doubles the bandwidth, I thought?)

    Now, how would more cache affect things? Well, the real question here is how much more efficient the 1 MB cache is in comparison to the 512K cache. I would guess that the 512K cache would have an efficiency of something like 92% (meaning 8% of the time there is a cache miss). While I'm guessing, I would venture that average hit rates with 1MB of cache are probably only 94% or something. So the miss rate is 6%.

    These are only guesses, based on caching analysis that I did way back in the Pentium 133 days. I don't really know if modern caching schemes are better, or if the change in software has made the hit rate decrease relative to eight years ago, or what. Probably a combination of the two.

    How does this all work out, then? To me, it looks like the Athlon 64 3200+ is only around 1 to 5% faster than the 3000+ in the majority of benchmarks, so the increased cache hit rate isn't helping that much. Going with PC2100 RAM is probably going to be a pretty decent hit on system performance, and at best the 3200+ might be 5 to 10% faster than the 3000+ when using both with the slower RAM.

    Overall, I would think it might be okay short term to go with PC2100, but you would want to upgrade that ASAP. It might even be more cost effective to buy new PC3200 RAM and a 3000+ than to use PC2100 and a 3200+.

    Maybe Anandtech will do an article for you, but I douby it. They don't often do non-standard benchmark setups.
  • johnsonx - Monday, January 19, 2004 - link


    I appreciate that you took the time to respond, but I think you've missed the point of my post. In short, I'd like to see AT test what effect cache size has when an A64 is paired with slower RAM. In a similar vein, I'd like to see how dependant the A64 is on memory bandwidth in general. The very slight performance difference between the A64 3400+ and FX-51 suggest that the 3.2Gb/s of single DDR-400 is enough to feed the beast (as the 6.4Gb/s available from dual DDR-400 makes little difference in performance); but no one has tested whether 2.7Gb/s or 2.1Gb/s is also enough.

    Also, I think you may be mistaken about running in async mode, and extra performance penalties due to that. From what I've read and understand about the A64 memory controller, it operates from a divider of the core frequency. On a 2.0Ghz chip, it uses a divider of 20 for DDR-200, 15 for DDR-266, 12 for DDR-333, and 10 for DDR-400 (each of which results in an exact frequency match). Therefore running DDR-266 on an A64 obviously results in less bandwidth than DDR-400, but incurs no async latency penalty like we are used to with AthlonXP.

    Interestingly, this also means that a 2.2Ghz A64 can't precisely match some of the DDR frequencies, and therefore runs some modules at less than rated speed. The 11 and 22 dividers yeild exactly 200 and 100 Mhz respectively, for DDR-400 and DDR-200. But DDR-333 has to run at 2200/14=157Mhz, and DDR-266 runs at 2200/17=129Mhz.

    This information makes sense to me, and I've read it several places, but that doesn't make it right.
  • MoronBasher - Monday, January 19, 2004 - link

    he could put it in async mode . but that would have severe performace penalties. if someone is getting a pretty high end machine, it wouldn't make sense to skimp on a key component such as ram.

    *watch out for ddr400 though, ddr400 has ver lax latencies compared to ddr333 and 266, if you are not going to run it at ddr400 speeds, latencies will kill you performance wise. best to get corsairs xms pc3200c2 if you are getting ddr400 ram (or ram with timings of 2-3-3-6)
  • johnsonx - Monday, January 19, 2004 - link

    The model number system and this roadmap have got me wondering again... what memory must one use to get perfomance equal to the model number? I assume that a 2.0Ghz 1Mb cache Athlon64 only gives "3200+" performance when paired with DDR-400 memory. Likewise I assume the 512K cache Athlon64 at 2.0Ghz gives "3000+" performance paired with DDR-400 as well. In other words, as long as you use DDR-400, then halving the cache of the 2.0Ghz A64 only causes a loss of "200+" worth of perfomance, or about 6%... hardly worth mentioning.

    But, what happens if you use DDR-266 or DDR-333 RAM? Of course the performance of both chips will be lower, but won't the 512k cache chip (3000+) take a much larger hit, losing more than 6% relative to the 1Mb cache chip (3200+)?

    I wonder because my brother-in-law has a AthlonXP 1800+ on a KT-266A board with a gig of DDR-266 RAM. He wants to upgrade his processor and motherboard, but might like to avoid buying new DDR-400 RAM if his existing RAM will work (leaving that for a future upgrade). Thinking aloud, I suggested that the extra $50 spent on a big-cache A64 3200+ would be worth it to lessen the performance impact of DDR-266 RAM. But I've seen no tests on this, so I really don't know.

    Surely other upgraders are in a similar situation; not everyone wants to build a completely new box every time. In a similar vein, with 3 different speed/cache/socket variations being called "3400+", implying roughly equal performance, would they still be equal if paired with slower memory than the presumed DDR-400 standard? Probably not, so which keeps more of it's rated perfomance when paired with slower memory?

    This is something I'd really like to see AT test out...
  • TrogdorJW - Friday, January 16, 2004 - link

    So you actually went out and purchased an FX-51 system, and yet you say my $2000 price estimate was too high? That doesn't work very well. Unless by "system" you mean you bought a CPU and motherboard and RAM. In that case, you could probably put together an FX-51 with 512 MB registered RAM for around $1100. But that's with CURRENT prices, and you're talking like you bought the system a couple months ago, so you would need to add another $100 to $200.

    For a well-built system, you would want something like the following:

    1 GB RAM, which would be around $275 or more, depending on timings.
    The FX-51 is $750 or more.
    The motherboard should cost between $200 and $250, depending on brand.
    No point getting a lousy graphics card with an FX-51, so at least $350 for the Radeon 9800 Pro or XT.
    Toss in either a couple of hard drives for RAID 0 or maybe just one larger drive, which would be $125 minimum and up to $500 if you wanted a pair of 250GB drives.
    You would need a good case, so at least $100 there, and potentially $350 if you wanted really high-end.
    Might as well throw in a Lite On DVD+/-RW for $150 and a DVD-ROM for $30.
    Keyboard and mouse for $35 if you go cheap.

    So, rough estimates of prices for a complete Athlon FX-51 *system* come out at $2015 and could easily go up to $3000 or more when you throw in a good monitor and speakers. But clearly a $2000 price tag for a PC using the FX-51 as a basis is WAY off. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) Either that, or you can't do math worth a damn. And since those are Newegg prices and don’t include shipping or costs of putting the system together, $2000 is the bare minimum for what I would consider paying for an FX-51.

    If you paid less than that (and that’s a really big IF, since I still don’t buy your claims of owning an FX system), then go ahead and list your specs and the overall price. Either you’ve got a poorly designed system, you don’t have an FX, or you paid at least $2000.

    --------- End Price Talks ---------

    Now, as to the whole dropping of support for a platform, I never said that was a good tactic. However, it is very common with brand new technology. At the very least, you run serious risks of paying an early-entry premium and getting hardware that will has bugs or unexpected problems. Registered memory required, a forthcoming switch to socket 939, etc.

    If you never heard about socket 939 and went out and bought an Athlon FX, then you are clearly whacked out. I read about the future socket 939 when the Athlon FX/64 were first released, if not before them. It has always been a caveat in every review I've seen of the FX. Like the Anandtech review. I mean, you’re posting here, so you read the review, right? How about this, then: “Socket-939: Athlon 64 FX DOA?” (

    Finally, as to the comment that "it's the consumer's fault for saving up and buying a top of the line processor", I never said that. It *is* the customers fault if they run out and buy a brand new technology without doing any research and then find it is not all that they were dreaming of. I feel no remorse in saying that anyone that went out and purchased an FX-51 and expected it to be the future platform of AMD top-end CPUs for the next two years is stupid. Again, socket 939 has been talked about for four months at the least, so if you didn't read about it, that's your fault, not mine and not AMD's.

    AMD should NOT give any customers that purchased an FX-51 motherboard and CPU the option to switch to 939. That would be like me asking Intel to give people a free upgrade to the 2.4/2.6/2.8/3.0/3.2 "C" processors. Or asking AMD to allow people who went out and bought the 2800+ 2.20 GHz "Thoroughbred" CPU and an early Nforce2 to get a free switch to a 2.03 GHz 2800+ "Barton" and an Nforce 2 Ultra 400.

    Hell, in the last two years, how many different chipset have come out from Intel, Nvidia, Via, SiS, etc? Every one of those was an upgrade to the companies' previous "best" chipset. Same could be said of CPUs - and due to bus and voltage requirements, quite a few users could not upgrade both Athlon/Athlon XP and Pentium 4 beyond a certain point.

    If you go out and buy bleeding edge components, you WILL get screwed in some sense. If you have the money, then that doesn't really matter. If you don't have the money, or if you feel that money DOES matter, then you should be buying stuff that's 3 to 6 months old and being more intelligent. Whining about your own mistakes doesn't make them anybody's fault but your own. Especially when web sites like specifically recommended waiting. From the last page of their review: “We cannot recommend the FX until AMD does release a version with unbuffered memory support and we would strongly suggest waiting until the Socket-939 version is released if you are considering the FX.”

    So, either: A) You’re stupid for not researching. B) You’re stupid for going directly against the recommendation of several reputable web sites. C) You’re full of shit and don’t own an FX (you troll).

    I’m still betting on the last option, since you have given no clear evidence of owning an FX. I mean, if you already have an FX, why the hell should you care that in two or three months there’s going to be something faster? At this point, you’ve already been “leader of the pissing contest” for three or four months with the FX-51, which is as much as you can ask for from any bleeding edge technology.

    Way too much time for this response. Oh, well. It’s written now; might as well post....
  • MoronBasher - Friday, January 16, 2004 - link

    Also, the sk8v also works with the opteron. and nvidia's nforce 3 250 will still work with the socket 940, given that a motherboard maker opts to make socket 940s Reply
  • MoronBasher - Friday, January 16, 2004 - link

    do you really want me to start listing all the vendors?

    asus, tyan, gigabyte, leadtek, msi... etc.

    I'm only saying one vendor to to the fact that it's a proven fact that amd 940 cpus wotk on the same motherboard athlon or opteron...

    and tyan is one of the biggest server motherboard makers. they even make athlon mp boards with agp 8x at atx form factor.

    o yeah... i just remembered who i'm talking to... someone who doesn't have a clue...
  • ianwhthse - Friday, January 16, 2004 - link

    Those two sure hit it off, eh?

    All I said was that it could be done but was more expensive.

    But they're married or something...*duck behind computer*
  • Rustang - Friday, January 16, 2004 - link

    No apology is needed. One needs to learn to read carefully before demaning apologies. You recommended 1 motherboard (from one vendor) and that's your best answer to all of the questions that were asked? Here's a little homework exercise -- compare your Sk8N to the Sk8V, or even better to the 250 chipsets that will be on the market in just a few months? So you never upgrade the BIOS of your computer, because you don't believe in vendor support for your hardware? :)

    Seems like you'll have to bash yourself...

    The one slim chance here is that for some reason all the socket 940 consumer board makers unlike AMD decide to keep supporting and further developing the existing product (i.e. nForce3 250). I seriously doubt that would happen given the relatively small size of the FX-51 consumer base.
  • MoronBasher - Friday, January 16, 2004 - link

    rustang, where is your "wrong" apology... i'm waiting.

    Guess what, amd will not do the exact same thing as intel did. intel just completely stopped making socket 423s. Now, amd will still continue to make 940 cpus, 939 cpus and even 754.

    hell, you can still upgrade... go to newegg, they are selling opteron 1xx cpus right now, and they will still keep selling opteron 1xx in the future. even the asus sk8n wasn't suppose to be "athlon fx" boards. the sk8n was meant to be single cpu opteron board anyway. being launch like 4 months before the real "athlon 64s" arrived in september.
  • Rustang - Thursday, January 15, 2004 - link

    Let's talk about top of the line offerings from Intel and how many years after the initial offering of that technology Intel supports that product shall we...

    Also, the argument that Intel does it, so it's cool for AMD to do the same is kind of cynical don't you think (your comment on money being no concern is also arrogantly cynical -- $2000 for a PC? what are you building a Cray?). I hope that AMD doesn't follow your logic that "it's the consumer's fault for saving up and buying a top of the line processor", because that will inevitably result in higher revenues for Intel.

    I've always held AMD to a higher standard (the naive me) and would like to think that they have the lead today precisely because they've always tried to do things better than Intel. Now's not the time for AMD to become sloppy and customer negligent. They should rectify this snafu and give FX51 owners the option to swap to the socket 939 equivalent.

    P.S. Hope you're not a gambling man. With your "betting" prowess, you'll lose your shirt very quickly.
  • MoronBasher - Thursday, January 15, 2004 - link

    God, do i have to restate myself over and over again?

    Look no further than the Asus sk8n, it supports opteron 1xx (meaning single processor opterons)

    hell, all athlon fx 940 motherboards supoorts the opteron 1xx chips.
  • TrogdorJW - Thursday, January 15, 2004 - link

    Actually, Rustang, taking a cue from Intel's playbook, you CAN introduce a product and then more or less kill off support for it six months later. Intel did that with the Socket 423 Pentium 4 processors. That is why I never buy "bleeding-edge" hardware: it may not be as well designed as it could be. Wait six months after new technologies are introduced and then decide whether or not they are worth buying.

    Anyone that went out and purchased and Athlon FX got precisely what they wanted: the fastest desktop PC currently available at the highest price available. Clearly, for these people, money was not a real concern. For anyone that spends over $2000 for a PC, money is not part of the equation; it's all about bragging rights (which is, frankly, stupid). I'm betting heavily that you do not own an FX-51 system, so AMD has not "lost [your] (and a whole lot of other people's) business." They never had it to begin with (in your case).
  • Rustang - Thursday, January 15, 2004 - link

    An Opteron (non-server) mobo in the same price range and vendor variety with all the multimedia/fire-wire bells and whistles of an FX-51 nForce 3 150/250 chipset? Oh and with the same overclocking (unlocked multiplier) capability and consumer PC dimensions?

    If you know of such an Opteron 2xx board (or one that will be on the market at the same time as the socket 939/754 equivalents) then please enlighten me. I will gladly admit that I was wrong. In the meantime, I did think before I type and what I said stands true (at least for me).

    P.S. Yes the FX51 is a rebadged Opteron. Given that, the only reason why AMD would relabel it is because it intends to make this line of processors available and affordable to the consumer (and in the course of doing so kick Intel's behind). You can't just introduce a product and leave within 6 months. If your consumer price doesn't secure the desired margins given the hefty manufacturing cost, then you should've thought of that up front shouldn't you. It's poor business strategy any which way you cut it.

    Rustang you are wrong.

    Really, you are. The FX is a rebadged opteron. For those who has an FX right now, they can always put their cpus on Opteron mobos in the future. and upgrade through that. So amd really isn't really leaving anyone in the dust as many have said. All that amd is going to take away is the name off of the "athlon 64 fx" and put back the proper name of opteron in its line up

    Think b4 you speak (in this case... type)
  • Rustang - Thursday, January 15, 2004 - link

  • ianwhthse - Thursday, January 15, 2004 - link

    Rustang: As has been pointed out, the Opteron series will continue on the 940 pin setep for as far as any known roadmaps go. The 1xx series is an upgrade option to consider (especially when they move to smaller process), though the higher cost of the Opterons may make it worth while for the hardcore upgraders to switch over to the 939 instead. Reply
  • MoronBasher - Thursday, January 15, 2004 - link

    Rustang you are wrong.

    Really, you are. The FX is a rebadged opteron. For those who has an FX right now, they can always put their cpus on Opteron mobos in the future. and upgrade through that. So amd really isn't really leaving anyone in the dust as many have said. All that amd is going to take away is the name off of the "athlon 64 fx" and put back the proper name of opteron in its line up

    Think b4 you speak (in this case... type)
  • Rustang - Thursday, January 15, 2004 - link

    So what happens to all the AMD enthusiasts and fans who shelled out the $,$$$ to buy a top of the line FX-51 platform? No 1GHz 250 chipset and no future path for upgrades? That is more than irresponsible... AMD should allow owners of 940 Athlons to to the 939 chip FOR FREE.

    If that doesn't happen then AMD has lost my (and I'm sure a whole lot of other people's) business. Next time I'll spend my money on an overpriced Intel knowing that 1-2 years from now I can still upgrade the CPU/mobo and be up to date, rather than get an AMD solution. There's something seriously wrong with the picture when the "flagship" FX-51 platform gets retired by AMD within 6 months (give or take) of introduction and when you need to be a soothsayer to know that the company will stiff you and not support the product. The moment you become customer complacent, is the moment you become fat and overrated/priced like Intel...
  • Ilmater - Thursday, January 15, 2004 - link

    sajidk1975: That changes all the time, and roadmaps are hard enough to get information on, MUCH LESS the actual pricing. Plus, without the processors in hand, how can anyone possibly know the best price/performance now?

    Insomniac: Yeah, I would like to see those as well. I just can't keep up with this stuff, and I'm CONSTANTLY in here.

    PrinceGaz: Good Lord yes. This was a GREAT idea and a wonderful quick reference, but that balck text on dark green part gives me a headache to look at. PLEASE CHANGE THAT SOMEBODY!
  • TrogdorJW - Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - link

    Oops... screwed up on my math a little bit in the above. For AMD, I should have been calculating 16 million transistors per 256K of L2, and at some point I started doing it as 17 million. Figures might be off by a few million, then, but overall the point still stands. (And since I was estimating anyway, who cares? Well, besides me.) Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - link

    According to the following CPU comparison:

    If you look at the Athlon XP, there are 54.3 million transistors in the Barton. There are 37.5 million in the Thoroughbred. So doubling the L2 cache from 256K to 512K required an extra 16 million transistors. On the Intel side, they list a P4's L2 cache as taking up 26 million transistors for 512K. Given the exclusive nature of the L2 cache on Athlon CPUs, I wouldn't be surprised to seem them use more transistors relative to the size of the cache. So the Barton might be 34 million transistors for the cache and 20 million for the CPU logic. (The original Athlon was 22 million for the CPU, with the cache located elsewhere, so this is pretty accurate.)

    Now, if you look at the Athlon 64/FX/Opteron, you will see that it is currently taking 105.9 million transistors. That's with 128K L1 and 1024K L2. If the numbers are similar to the Athlon XP (and they most likely are), the L2 cache is using up roung 68 million of the transistors. That leaves 38 million for the CPU core. With that additional 64-bit circuitry, registers, SSE2, and memory controller, that seems pretty likely. Take the 22 million transistors of the Athlon, and use another 16 million adding those features.

    So, if you agree with all of that so far, then create an Athlon XP CPU based off the K8 core. So start at 106 million transistors. Cutting out 768K of the 1024K L2 should eliminate roughly 51 million transistors, and we're down to 55 million (which is the size of current Barton CPUs). Knock off the 64-bit support, and you might kill off another 8 million transistors, give or take. All told, you end up with a CPU that uses maybe 45 to 50 million transistors.

    If that's correct, the new Athlon XP for socket 754 should cost LESS to produce than the current Barton. AMD can also stop production on the Barton and forget about socket A. The yield of the "Paris" CPU (I believe that's the codename) would be much higher than the Athlon 64/FX/Opteron CPUs. They also wouldn't need to worry about shifting it to the 90 nm process, so that would save them some money.

    Final tally, then, is that they get a CPU which should roughly equal the current Athlon XP 3200+. (I'm figuring that it should be clocked at least 2.0 GHz, and while it has half the L2 cache of the Barton, the integrated memory controller should roughly equal out.)

    It's not really a bad business move. Revamping the current locations for 90 nm is pretty much out of the question - they were built for 130 nm with 200 mm wafers, and replacing the equipment so that they could do 90 nm would cost almost as much as building a new plant. It should be a good budget CPU, certainly better than the Celeron CPUs that Intel is currently peddling.

    That's my take. Still hate the PR names, though.
  • KF - Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - link

    If AMD sticks to this timetable, AMD has planned on getting killed in top-of-the-line 32 bit performance over the next year. The only thing good about it is they probably won't fall short. (Falling short is really bad for PR and stock price.) Intel's HT performance with SSE2 is probably going boost dramatically with Intel's Prescott, because that is probably what all the addition die circuitry is for, which will make A64 look very bad in encoding benchmarks, which A64 already loses. The only question is how fast Intel is going to drop the price premium of the Prescott. Since the economy is in an upswing, and Intel is getting pretty tired of selling good chips under $200, don't expect much mercy. In the unlikely event MS gets A64 Windows out the door, that may turn things around for AMD.

    On the surface of it, if they plan to cripple A64s into A32s, AMD should fire their whole marketing department. Unless this is going to reduce PRODUCTION costs to the point they can make money selling SOI chips at say $120, what is the point? Don't give me that stuff about salvaging defective chips. If 95% of the chips you sell are saved rejects, you are wasting money by putting the extra parts on the die. Maybe at $120 calling the chips XPs and having them plug into cheap A64 mobos could produce a reasonable "value" combo between real XPs and A64s, but there isn't a lot of room. Or do they plan on making SOI chips more cheaply than the conventional ones?

    It also looks like the A64 performance boost is not much to wait for if you plan on getting an A64 (other than the socket switch.) A64 3000+ is not that far short of what is going to come along, and it seems doubtful the prices will drop so much that it wouldn't be better to buy now and get the benefits sooner.

    That's if you believe the timetable. Maybe AMD has just switched tactics from one extreme to the other. No info about future performance. When it arrives, you will see it for sale first. Touting the future has never helped AMD. Sandbagging Intel worked great for the Athlon's intro. If that thing about crippling A64s to A32 is true, then AMD must think they can get the SOI chip price down near what current chips cost. Otherwise why?
  • Shinei - Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - link

    They wouldn't; hence, marketing was born. Reply
  • jeromekwok - Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - link

    The relationship between model number and clock frequency/caches is very confusing.

    AMD want all of us forget clock freq and caches, and stick with model number. So is it good?

    If VIA release a Cyrix 5000+ 1GHz 128kB CPU, how could a consumer know Athlon 64 4000+ is faster than Cyrix 5000+?
  • Ajay - Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - link

    Hmm, I don't get why AMD would be truncating s754 cpus so early - they are a great upgrade to the XP line. Seems like they are just trying to keep processor prices up.

    I also don't get why they are introducing _low_ _end_ XPs onto s754. "The reduction in cache size to 256KB will decrease 32-bit performance by a noticeable amount, but they will make a good successor to the current Socket-A Athlon XPs."

    So they'll be slower than the current XP 3200+...what kind of successor is that!!!

  • PrinceGaz - Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - link

    @marky1124: Tom's recently did a round-up of all the gfx-cards from the past couple of years so you can compare the performance. Obviouslly it doesn't have R4xx or NV4x yet of course but its a good starting-point to compare future results with. Just remember to ignore the bit at the end where they add up all the fps scores to come to a conclusion as thats almost meaningless as it gives Q3 and other old/fast games too much importance; why they didn't normalise the results based on a particular card first is beyond me. Reply
  • marky1124 - Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - link

    I like this sort of article. I'd like to see a similar one for:

    . The Intel processor line
    . Nvidia graphics cards
    . ATI graphics cards

    I'd also like to see a reference chart that helps someone who is upgrading their graphics card. The problem is that as an owner of a GF4 Ti4600 I'll want to upgraded to either an Nvidia NV4x or a ATI R4xx based card. I'll need a chart to tie my old card to the equilvalent latest range when they are launched. Perhaps something like an extended DirectX 9 benchmark run across the last couple of years worth of cards.
  • Jeff7181 - Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - link

    Looks like the Athlon-64 3400+ made them say "oh crap, we can't keep making these like this, they're just as good as the Athlon-64 FX-51." So what do they do? Handicapp the Athlon-64 with 512k L2 cache in the 939 pin variety... smart business move, possibly a bad marketing move.
    Looks like socket 754 is in my future as long as unbuffered dual channel RAM doesn't provide much more performance than it seems right now.
  • MoronBasher - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    *i meant dell not deel, and i forgot "should" on one of the sentences... really, there should be an edit button somewhere... Reply
  • MoronBasher - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    Well, average joe consumer usually buys boxes by deel or hp, so no real loss there. Really, if you are going to put a system together, you be at least smart and do your homeowrk, look at the people who got spurred by the p4 socket shift. It's really their fault... so i really don't feel sorry for those "poor" individuals. More returns to the store... horay... Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    "It could very well be that AMD is counting on the Athlon 64's performance scaling much better with clock speed than Prescott, thus justifying the increased model numbers...." Oh, God, not again. It just keeps getting worse....

    I'm sure we can all agree that *current* Athlon 64 2.0 GHz CPUs are beating *current* Pentium 4 3.2 GHz CPUs in the majority of benchmarks. Similarly, the A64 2.2 GHz is likely to beat the 3.4 GHz P4 when that becomes available. Beyond that, though, this AMD PR rating stuff is terrible. Look at this current plan:

    We have the 2.4 GHz A64 with 1 MB L2 cache that we're calling a 3700+. Then we have the 2.4 GHz 512K L2 version which is a 3400+. We also have the 2.2 GHz 1MB L2 version 3400+. And to make things REALLY CONFUSING - and to be stupid - we're going to have a different socket (939) with the 2.6 GHz 512K getting a 4000+, a 2.4 GHz 512K getting 3700+, and a 2.2 GHz 512K getting 3400+.

    To highlight the worst of this, let me reiterate. The AMD Athlon 64 3400+ could be any of the following:

    A) 2.4 GHz 512K cache socket 754
    B) 2.2 GHz 1024K cache socket 754
    C) 2.2 GHz 512K cache socket 939

    Caveat emptor?

    Now, for people who KNOW computers, we can go out and pick the best CPU for a system and put it all together. Clearly, though, Mr. Average Joe Consumer is not going to know which one of these CPUs is really the best. Many won't even realize that there are several versions of the same CPU speed that have different characteristics.

    With the 3400+ being available in no less than three options - and who knows WHAT we're likely to see next - there's a good chance that quite a few less knowledgeable people will go out and purchase a 3400+ expecting to pop it into their current motherboard. Only then will they find out that instead of the socket 754 that their motherboard supports, they've got the socket 939 version. "Oops."

    So, AMD apparently expects the people who buy CPUs to know enough to differentiate between the various versions of the CPUs. Fine. Gotta know socket type, amount of cache, etc. Then they turn around and say that we're too stupid to understand the relationship of IPC and clock-speed to overall performance. Can't have it both ways.

    In summary: AMD should tell their marketing department to come up with better campaigns. The crap is too transparent right now - gotta spread it on thicker!!!
  • siamesenick - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    CRAM owns my face Reply
  • siamesenick - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

  • MoronBasher - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    Crampital, really, cram it... just stop your rhetoric...

    you sound like a child, sure prescott might be late. but wasn't amd late as well for their hammers?

    Microsucks? Why am i so sure you are using their operating system, sure they are late with 64bit windows, but do we really need it? 64 bit on athlons are still pretty much a gimmick

    Also, for people addressing that 64bit goodness for athlons is an investment... you are wrong... look at the price of an athlon compared that of a pentium, it's like getting free 64bit extensions. not paying for it.

    for people trashing amd for not going to support socket 940 in the future, you are wrong, amd will still keep churning out socket 940 chips as long as the OPTERON line lives!!! if you get an athlon fx 51 right now you can always upgrade to a faster opteron later, don't forget, the asus sk8n was once a opteron 1xx motherboard

  • NFactor - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    The thread was getting lonely without CRAMITPAL...ok maybe not. Reply
  • CRAMITPAL - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    What nonsense, as usual...

    AMD don't need to go clock-for-clock with Intel. What counts in system performance is IPC - Instructions Per Clock cycle. AMD's IPC is so high compared to Intel's that an A64 3400+ that runs at only 2.2 Gigs. actual clockspeed can kick ass not only on the 3.2 Gig. Piss 4, but also the 3.2 Gig. Enema Edition priced at a fugging $1000 !!!

    It's so funny to hear how Intel is soon gonna run all over AMD, when Intel can't even get the fugged up defective design Prescott out the door a year+ late. As AnandTech, Xbit's Lab, Ace's Hardware, The Inquire and a ton of other websites have confirmed Prescott is nothing short of a fugged up, cobbed together, Flame Throwing piece of sh*t!

    To set the record straight for those who don't know or are in denial, when AMD intro'ed the Athlon, they held the performance crown from that day on some (4) years ago up thru the XP 3000+. The only time AMD relinquished the performance crown was when they went from 3000+ to 3200+. AMD should have bumped the clockspeed another 50 MHz. They could have also released the A64 3000+ but they were waiting on asshole Microsucks to finish the A64 update. As usual the hacks at Microsucks are months late and fugging clueless... SOS same old Microsucks !!!

    It amazes me how much technical ignorance passes as fact in these foolish threads. Don't any of you folks ever read technical reports, white papers, or scientific info. ??? I mean most folks in here look like complete technical idiots. All you do is argue about your favorite brand of PC hardware as if your manhood was dependent on the sale of same. Maybe you folks should stop playing all those video games and get out more???
  • Shinei - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    64-bit, from the little bit of LAME encoding AT did back on the launch-day Opterons, showed a 40% increase in encoding speed... It could have been less, I'm not entirely sure on the number; it was significant, but not like "omg intel's blown away". On the other hand, a 3GHz A64 would be untouchable by Intel, and more expensive than the house you live in, considering that the FX-51 is still an $800+ part, and the 3.4GHz P4EE is over a thousand... Are you really sure you want AMD to go clock for clock with Intel? Reply
  • HammerFan - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    xstylus: Is a 3GHz A64 really necassary? Do you think AMD is lagging? Maybe they don't have the fastest CPU at video editing, but what about everything else? I never claimed to know much about video rendering, but do you think that 64bit rendering software would give it a leg-up? If it does, the A64 may very well top the P4 in performance..... Reply
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    The Athlon 64 is not so dependant on cache like Intel's, remember they don't duplicate the data in L1 in L2 like Intel does, and to some extent even that is duplicated in L3 for the EE edition chip. Intel depends on cache and FSB.

    That's the beauty of a on die memory controller, but the 1mb cache helps for server applications.
  • MoronBasher - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    Icewind, just as the athlon64 3000+, cutting 512megs of cache from the processor isn't going to hurt it.

    i want to know how well dual channel ddr400 do to the athlon 64s
  • xstylus - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    Is it REALLY that hard for AMD to hit 3ghz?

    I don't do much gaming, but I do a lot of video editing and rendering, which many reviews have shown that the P4 is tops in. Clock for clock, actually, the Athlon 64 and P4 are the same. Unfortunately the A64 hasn't hit 3ghz yet, and they're way overdue.

    When I purchase new equipment, I get technology that is double what I'm currently using. I'm currently using an Athlon XP at 1.43ghz (note that I stated the Mhz and not PR rating). I buy new equipment every 18 months. Month 18 is very quickly approaching, and I don't see a 3ghz (or at least 2.8ghz) processor on AMD's roadmap. They need to stop lagging!

    I'm looking carefully at Intel processors now, but I really have a beef with the price premium just to have the name Intel.
  • Icewind - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    Lets just wait and see shall we before we start flinging mud around at AMD like a delusion stuck up politician election race.

    AMD has made a huge jump into a new area of technology INTEL has not planned on for some years yet. I cannot wait to read years from now how this big jump to 64bit caused AMD to become an industry leader and forebearer of technology to come while Intel struggles to reclaim its crown.
  • johnsonx - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    I agree with #11, and I've said it before in other comment threads: AthlonXP on socket 754 is a mistake. I honestly can't think of one good reason for AMD to do this... if they want to sell a value chip, fine, either keep selling Socket-462 chips in the value segment, or sell an Athlon64 2500+ for $100 (or whatever speed at whatever price). There is nothing to be gained by selling crippled Athlon64's as AthlonXP's.

    Ironically, the reverse of this actually would make sense, though AMD will never even consider it. That is, make an Athlon64 for socket-462 (for upgraders and the value segment). Since the actual processor core of the K8 is essentially the K7 with a couple of extra pipeline stages and 64-bit registers added, how hard would it be for AMD to strip the integrated memory controller and HT interfaces back out, and slap the EV6 bus interface back in? Beyond that, the most that would be needed to support 64-bit on an existing socket-462 board would be a BIOS update.

    Of course, A64 on Socket-462 will not be considered. It would be expensive, requiring another new proccessor core. AthlonXP on Socket-754 is much easier and cheaper, but that doesn't make it smart... At this point, it is not enough for AMD to match Intel on performance. They need to WIN with AMD64; 64-bit WindowsXP and 64-bit Linux need to be what everyone wants to run, and what everyone with a new AMD system can run, and what everyone who buys Intel can't run. AMD selling shiny new Socket-754 chips that can't run 64-bit code only dilutes AMD's 64-bit arguement, and helps poor 32-bit Intel.
  • AgaBooga - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    I get the feeling we'll be seeing something very similar to what we saw when the Athlon XP and Pentium 4 came out, as in, AMD being in the lead towards the beginnging, but slowly shifting over to Intel by the end of the CPU's lifetime. That's what happened to Intel, when Williamette was released, it was crushed by the Athlon XP. Once the hyper threading enabled and 800mhz FSB P4 cpus came out, they were in the lead until Athlong 64 came out. I expect much more competition this time because they will have learned from their mistakes from their previous releases. Oh yeah, I think the company that can get their manufacturing process working for the cpus sooner will gain the lead, not to mention how well the process matures allowing for higher clock speeds... Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    ChefJoe: Hmmm, I see its very briefly white text on dark-green here but it changes to black as soon as the page completes on my browser (IE6 SP1). Maybe just my popup blocker doing something odd. Not really a problem anyway as its still just about readable. Reply
  • wrong - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    I don't understand why they'd make Socket 754 Athlon XPs with 64-bit capability disabled. AMD64 is a platform, and network effects mean that the more 64-bit capable machines are out there, the better they all do.

    I guess they must be anticipating a powerful need to differentiate between products to exploit different market segments, but it still seems wrong.
  • ChefJoe - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    PrinceGaz, it looks like the text color is white on green now. I'm just finding the dangling sentence about Grantsdale and Alderwood in the AMD paragraph a little wierd. Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    Was it only me who found the black text on dark-green in each chart slightly hard to read? ;) Reply
  • SDLeary - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    This is all well and good, but where is the other socket 940 info? I see nothing here about Opteron!

  • sajidk1975 - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    I wish in these roadmaps they outlined the best bang for the buck on new purchases. Anyone have any recommendations for a new processor? Which is best to but, when, where?
  • Icewind - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    SO wait, wait, wait wait! AMD is cutting the 1 Meg cache on all A64 processers so that only the FX has 1 meg? Sob...Tejas is starting to sound better and better everytime I hear more news on AMD's plan. Reply
  • Lonyo - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    I like the "Prescott, anyone?" comment, but surely, "AMD-64, anyone?" would be more appropriate? (devils advocate, not a fanboy) Reply
  • Insomniac - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    I'd like to see roadmaps for ATI and nVidia. Reply
  • Burcin - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    For the performance rating, we should remember that A64 and P4 work at quite different frequencies. So even we suppose they scale equally, a %10 increase for the clock of a 2GHz A64, which is 200MHz, should correspond a 300MHz increase for a 3GHz P4. So if 2GHz A64 is rated as 3200+, 2.2GHz A64 should be 3500+ & 2.4GHz A64 should be 3800+. But it seems AMD rates a little bit conservative & rounds down the ratings, perhaps due to the slightly increasing performance of P4's due to new Hyper Threading optimized software. Reply
  • KristopherKubicki - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    yeah but youll have to wait 2 months... Reply
  • britneyLA - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    what a mess... according to those roadmaps it seems waiting for 939 is best solution at the moment if you are looking for a decent upgradeability of AMD babies... Reply

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