Update July 2004: AMD went against their roadmap and launched the Sempron CPU without the Intel Product Name scheme. We reported on the event here, but have left the article up for historial value.

4AM and the phone rings; our Asian correspondents have another roadmap for us. Excellent. After all, who doesn't enjoy writing about AMD processor roadmaps in the indecent hours of the morning.

Fortunately our perseverance is not unrewarded. The first important information we have to report on is the impending death of Duron. While many say good riddance, many others are reminded of our recent Duron benchmarks to conclude there is a definite processor hierarchy in the low end market. AMD's new chip; code named "Value" for now will eventually replace Duron, although specifications are hazy at best. What we do know is that the new chip is designed to aggressively compete with Celeron (with an advantage) and Celeron Only. Interpret that as you will. We also have other interesting specifications; the processor will be 32-bit only, it will span three socket architectures (Socket A, Socket 754, Socket 939), it will support dual channel memory on Socket 939 and will have the same NX (No eXecute) "antivirus" support found in the new Athlon 64, Efficeon, future Intel and Sparc processors.

According to the roadmap, the new processor will essentially replace the Athlon XP for Socket 754 which has been talked about in roadmaps before this one today. AMD's new move to specifically market to and target low end "Value" sector seems contradictory to the same roadmap which prints a study claiming the sub-$600 PC market does not particularly regard processor brand as important. AMD sounds fairly aggressive with the initiative to outpace Celeron D (Prescott based Celeron, 512KB L2 cache 533MHz FSB) which will already surface this week.

But more important than what AMD will name the new processor is how they will name the new processor; recall Intel's move to product numbers? AMD will in fact move the "Value" based processors off a "PR" rating to a number based system instead. AMD already has experience with this in the Opteron line, but moving the entire value segment to mimic Intel's rating system seems just as ambitious. We can only guess that AMD is testing the water for a new naming procedure on the sub-$600 PC market that does not regard processor brand name as important. Particularly when the newest roadmap claims:

AMD is evaluating the model number methodology for the "Value" brand giving recent press articles on Intel's change from GHz to model numbering.

Undoubtedly we will see AMD shift to a similar nomenclature for their other product lines if they can similarly market their value segment accordingly to Intel. Without a doubt, AMD's numbering system bares a striking resemblance to that of Intel. According to AMD's roadmaps, these new processors appear to be based off the 256KB L2 130nm "Paris" cores for Socket 939/754 and 512KB L2 130nm "Barton" cores for Socket A.

AMD "Value" Naming
Processor Socket Launch Date Old Name
"Value" 370 Socket 939 Q2'05 N/A
"Value" 350 Socket 754 Q4'04 N/A
"Value" 340 Socket 939 Q4'04 N/A
"Value" 320 Socket 754 Q3'04 N/A
"Value" 320 Socket A Q3'04 XP 3200+
"Value" 300 Socket A Q3'04 XP 3000+
"Value" 280 Socket A Q3'04 XP 2800+
"Value" 270 Socket A Q3'04 XP 2700+
"Value" 260 Socket A Q3'04 XP 2600+

Aside from AMD's new approach to the value segment, we also have more information on new processors. According to the recent roadmap we can expect to see Athlon FX-57 in Q2'05. To no surprise FX-55 and FX-57 will only debut on the dual channel Socket 939 architecture. Most interesting, however, is the small footnote below the roadmap which claims the FX-55 and Athlon 64 >4000+ (presumably 4200+) will require 104 watts/80 amps. According to P = IV, we assume the processors must be running at 1.3V. A significant change in core voltage can only mean that AMD is using a different core for these processors-- current Clawhammer Athlon 64s run on 1.5V. So are we to believe the upcoming 90nm transition to "San Diego" and "Winchester" cores will come this fall? If so, the design of the upcoming 90nm "San Diego" and "Winchester" architectures will decrease core voltage but increase overall wattage. This sounds extremely similar to Intel's newest 90nm venture, Prescott.

All of this news comes hot on the heels of AMD's open announcements to pursue dual core technology, which in turn comes hot on the heels of Intel's February decision to do the same. Perhaps as Intel and AMD both approach the threshold of power consumption, the solution becomes more instead of faster. Wasn't it a 15th century playwright who once claimed "Many hands make light work?"

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  • NullSubroutine - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - link

    #5

    "Why the name change again? Sounds more like following another company rather than leading... oh well."

    Umm, AMD isnt following, all they did was drop title XP and a 0. However its actually nice that both Intel and AMD will be using similar naming schemes hopefullly there will be less confusion. Either way AMD was using naming schemes first with the FX and Opteron lines (recent within the past few years.)

    #19 Dell is a nice company but their service isnt dependent on the type of processor they use. The reason they go Intel is because of $$$. Coffee is more expensive for Dell than Celerons are.
    Reply
  • NullSubroutine - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - link

    #5

    "Why the name change again? Sounds more like following another company rather than leading... oh well."

    Umm, AMD isnt following, all they did was drop title XP and a 0. However its actually nice that both Intel and AMD will be using similar naming schemes hopefullly there will be less confusion. Either way AMD was using naming schemes first with the FX and Opteron lines (recent within the past few years.)

    #19 Dell is a nice company but their service isnt dependent on the type of processor they use. The reason they go Intel is because of $$$. Coffee is more expensive for Dell than Celerons are.
    Reply
  • araczynski - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - link

    I agree with 19, I received a reduced quote (5k+ less) from dell just by buying in volume, and that's on top of the further (slightly) reduced rates being an educational agency. Everything we buy is dell and has intel inside, so far no problems, even with 3 year warranties, one time one of the server's raid drives was acting up (not critically) and we had a replacement the next morning.

    if anythign broke down and we had to wait any longer then that then "...but we saved 5k" as an excuse wouldn't convince anybody to be nice to us :)
    Reply
  • nserra - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - link

    #8 You are right!
    Instead of AMD made that Barton crap and have focus on Tbred clock speed or made some new "duron" with 128Kb of cache to compete with celeron it would have been a better choice.
    For me the 512kb cache on Barton was only marketing stuff, because it didn’t deliver much performance to the processor just for the cache (as have done to P4) and the mhz remained the same of Tbred, then that have been just ridiculous.
    Reply
  • Runamile - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - link

    >Does this mean the xp is going to have a memory
    >controller on the chip since its going to be
    >compatible with 754 and 939?

    Thats actually a pretty good point fishsauce. Since the new amd64 boards dont have northbridge memory controllers, won't the athlonXP on the 754/939 boards require one? And isn't that one of the key things that is giving the 64's competitive agains Intel right now untill all the other functions are implemented by programmers? If thats true, then the future 'value' chips will be mighty impressive.
    Reply
  • AtaStrumf - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - link

    Unlocking a Duron was as simple as unlocking the multipliers, but instead of connecting the L1 bridges you had to connect the cut L2 bridge. But that was before AMD started to lock both multipliers and Durons' L2 Cache. I got one of the last unlocked ones, so now I believe it is impossible, although I think you can unlock the multipliers if you change it to mobile. Just use google to find out exactly how. Reply
  • fishsauce - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - link

    Does this mean the xp is going to have a memory controller on the chip since its going to be compatible with 754 and 939?

    I apologize beforehand if this is a dumb question.
    Reply
  • glennpratt - Wednesday, May 19, 2004 - link

    This is really more or less the demise of the name, the Athlon XP is more or less the Duron of the future. Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - link

    I have to laugh at the whole concept of businesses saving money by using Duron processors. Let's see... buying 100 PCs, they're all going to include hard drives, cases, support, graphics, etc. that amount to $600. Now we can go with a $50 Duron, a $100 Athlon XP, or a system from Dell that costs $1000 and performs slower than either! Guess which one 90% of businesses choose?

    I for one support roughly 150 PCs at my location, every one of them a Dell GX150 that was purchased for about $900. That's a 1.13 GHz P3 with integrated graphics and a 20 GB hard drive. But when we have a hardware failure, we call up our support people, they call Dell's local support provider, and we get the new part in two or three days. Save $5000 when you're buying 100+ PCs? Well, it might be noticed - briefly - but no one really cares. One day of downtime for the computers would cost far more than $5000.

    What really makes me sad is how "outdated" my XP-M OC'ed to 2.4 GHz is becoming. *Sigh* And I just bought it, too! Not like I really care - it runs what I need it to run (games) plenty fast for the present. :)
    Reply
  • Pumpkinierre - Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - link

    #17 AtaSmurf, How do you unlock the extra cache on the Duron? I did'nt think it was possible.
    Reply

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