Original Link: http://www.anandtech.com/show/1960



The Intel Developer Forum doesn't officially start until later today, but we hit the ground running with a handful of meetings shortly after landing in San Francisco.  The first on the list was AMD, who have made it a habit of coming to just about every IDF to keep some balance. 

If you're expecting something earth shattering from AMD or finally some specifications for their 2007 CPU lineup, you'll have to wait longer.  AMD tells us that after Socket-AM2 and its mobile/server variants are launched then they will begin talking about their new architectures.  We've tried to get more, sooner, but haven't been successful yet.  Now on to what we were able to see. 

Socket-S1: Mobile DDR2

The first topic of the meeting was AMD's dual core Turion, which now officially has the name Turion 64 X2.

 

The Turion 64 X2 will be using AMD's new Socket-S1, the mobile version of Socket-AM2.  The 638-pin mobile Socket-S1 has a dual channel DDR2 interface like the 940-pin desktop AM2 socket.  You may be wondering how AMD was able to cram more than twice the data pins in a 638-pin package as they did with the original Socket-754 Athlon 64s, the answer is that the first generation of AMD's Athlon 64 was a bit over-designed for its needs.  We've heard that around 10% of the pins on the original Athlon 64s were unnecessary, so with some tweaking it's not too far fetched to see a dual channel memory controller implemented in fewer pins. (Note: the original article incorrectly stated that Socket-S1 uses 754 pins, AMD provided us with incorrect information and has since updated us). 


Click to Enlarge

AMD has finally narrowed down the Turion 64 X2 launch to Q2 of this year, whereas in the past they had only mentioned a mid-year release. 


AMD's Turion 64 X2

The platform AMD was demonstrating the Turion 64 X2 on was one of their mobile reference platforms.  AMD currently offers OEMs reference Turion platforms based on both ATI and NVIDIA chipsets, some of which AMD claims offer 5+ hours of battery life.  The idea being that OEMs who don't want to invest their own time and resources into engineering a Turion platform can simply borrow from AMD's reference design.  Obviously the reference design isn't going to produce the most unique notebook ever, but it's a starting point. 

A big theme for AMD recently has been their collaboration with partners such as ATI and NVIDIA, instead of competing against them for chipset market share.  It's a position that AMD can take since they don't manufacture their own chipsets, however it is difficult to say if AMD would be singing the same tune if they had the same manufacturing capacity as Intel.



Socket-AM2: Desktop DDR2

On the desktop side, Socket-AM2 is pretty much all AMD is talking about for now.  As we mentioned earlier, after AM2 launches AMD has indicated that they would be more forthcoming about their 2007 architectural changes. 


Socket-AM2 running a AMD Live! demo on the right

Socket-AM2 will launch at Computex and be met with the introduction of AM2 versions of a number of Athlon 64 and X2 processors.  DailyTech reported on the model numbers a while back, but the gist of it all is that there aren’t any new model numbers (other than the 5000+) and there are a new line of Energy Efficient CPUs that will debut on AM2. 

The Energy Efficient AM2 CPUs will be produced in the same manner in which the Opteron HE/EEs are; the specs of the CPUs are the same, but thanks to the use of lower power transistors overall power consumption is reduced.  The most impressive items are the 65W Athlon 64 X2s as well as the new 35W Athlon 64 X2 3800+.  AMD tells us that they will not change the branding on their Energy Efficient AM2 CPUs, instead they will simply list the wattage on the box itself (the part number will obviously be different as well).  Given that AMD will be stuck on 90nm throughout the rest of this year, the Energy Efficient AM2 CPUs will be a nice way to get even lower power consumption on your AMD desktops. 

At this point it appears that the AM2 model numbers map directly to the Socket-939 model numbers, with the new 5000+ being a 2.6GHz chip with a 512KB L2 cache per core. 

AMD shed some light on its Live! initiative (the AMD answer to Intel’s Viiv); for a while we’ve been quite puzzled as to the exact nature of AMD’s Live! and how it compares to Viiv, and thankfully AMD was able to sit down with us and elaborate. 

A lot of the initial work into Live! is actually targeted at the European markets, where AMD’s Live! initiative will help bring more feature filled set top boxes to consumers.  These set top boxes may not contain any AMD silicon or even feature any AMD branding, making AMD’s role in this sense more of a partner encouraging the development of more interactive set top boxes. 


This set-top box uses no AMD silicon nor does it feature any Live! branding, but it is part of AMD's Live! initiative in Europe.

The idea behind Live! in Europe is that your conventional set-top box would be enhanced by Internet content to provide you with a truly interactive viewing experience. Unfortunately with no single company taking all of the initiative here, it's difficult to actually see a demo of this in action. Instead, AMD provided a demo of MTV's online channel - Overdrive - being accessed over a set-top box.

Imagine watching a show on MTV and having access to more information through MTV Overdrive right there on your TV screen; in a nutshell, that's what AMD's Live! focus is in Europe.

In the US however, Live! is basically a set of specifications for a high-end AMD based Media Center PC.  The current specs for a desktop Live! system are as follows:

AMD Live! Desktop System Requirements
Processor AMD Athlon 64 X2 or dual core AMD Athlon 64 FX
Operating System

Required: Windows MCE, w/ Away mode (Windows Vista Premium when available)
Required: Vista Capable
Recommended: Meets Vista Premium Logo requirements

Graphics Vista Premium (Aero) capable
Dual graphics for AMD Athlon 64 FX based systems
Motherboard AMD Live! Ready (Socket AM2 / up to 95A)
HDD SATA HDD
Two SATA HDD w/ RAID (AMD Athlon 64 FX)
ODD DVD +/- RW
Connectivity Optional WiFi Certified 802.11g or 802.11 a/g
Memory >= 1GB
Display output VGA, DVI or HDMI w/ HDCP (option)
TV Tuner w/ Remote Optional
Wireless Keyboard & remote Recommended
Power Supply High efficiency, low RPM w/ temperature controlled fan
Acoustics TBA

AMD tells us that there will be some software components to AMD Live! developed with some of their partners, however we'll have to wait until later to find out what those are.



Socket-F: LGA and DDR2 for Servers

On the server side, AMD had a working demo of their new Socket-F (1207-pin) Opteron products.  Just like Socket-AM2 and S1, the Socket-F platform supports a dual channel DDR2 memory interface.  The greater number of pins will be useful in accommodating the power needs of quad core Opteron products due out in 2007. With the dramatic increase in pins over the previous Opteron socket, AMD had to move to a LGA interface similar to what Intel uses in all of their desktop CPU sockets.


AMD's Socket-F Opteron in action

While we would've liked to have seen/heard more from AMD, it looks like this will be it for IDF at least. The limelight will be exclusively Intel's at this IDF, Conroe, Merom and Woodcrest await...

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