AMD CPU Roadmap: Q3'04 Lots More Sempronsby Jarred Walton on October 8, 2004 12:00 AM EST
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AMD CPU Roadmap Update
Fall is now upon us, and as usual marketing efforts are in full swing to get us ready for the season of spending - or giving, if you prefer. Computer hardware manufacturers are also hard at work to get their latest products out in time for the holiday rush. 2004 has been a relatively exciting year in the technology sector, with the launch of socket 939 and 775, PCI Express, and even DDR2, as well as a plethora of CPU and graphics chip rollouts, but it's not over yet. You may have already heard about some recent CPU launches by AMD, and there are a few remaining products that will launch before the year is up. Roadmaps are really about the future, though, so we will also take a look at AMD's tentative product lineup for the next year or so, starting with the Athlon 64 line.
|AMD Athlon 64 Roadmap|
|Processor||Clock Speed||L2 Cache||Socket||Launch Date|
|Athlon FX-57||???||???||Socket 939||Q3'05|
|Athlon FX-55||2.6 GHz||1024KB||Socket 939||Soon|
|Athlon FX-53||2.4 GHz||1024KB||Socket 939||Now|
|Athlon FX-53||2.4 GHz||1024KB||Socket 940||Now|
|Athlon FX-51||2.2 GHz||1024KB||Socket 940||Now|
|Athlon 64 >=4200+||???||???||Socket 939||Q3'05|
|Athlon 64 >=4000+||???||???||Socket 939||Q2'05|
|Athlon 64 4000+||2.4 GHz||1024KB||Socket 939||Soon|
|Athlon 64 3800+||2.4 GHz||512KB||Socket 939||Now|
|Athlon 64 3700+||2.4 GHz||1024KB||Socket 754||Now|
|Athlon 64 3500+||2.2 GHz 90nm||512KB||Socket 939||Now|
|Athlon 64 3500+||2.2 GHz||512KB||Socket 939||Now|
|Athlon 64 3400+||2.4 GHz||512KB||Socket 754||Now|
|Athlon 64 3400+||2.2 GHz||1024KB||Socket 754||Now|
|Athlon 64 3200+||2.2 GHz||512KB||Socket 754||Now|
|Athlon 64 3200+||2.0 GHz 90nm||512KB||Socket 939||Now|
|Athlon 64 3200+||2.0 GHz||1024KB||Socket 754||Now|
|Athlon 64 3000+||2.0 GHz||512KB||Socket 754||Now|
|Athlon 64 3000+||1.8 GHz||1024KB||Socket 754||Now|
|Athlon 64 3000+||1.8 GHz 90nm||512KB||Socket 939||Now|
|Athlon 64 2800+||1.8 Ghz||512KB||Socket 754||Now|
In case you missed it, a couple weeks ago AMD (quietly) launched their first 90 nm Athlon 64 parts. Surprisingly, these parts launched at clock speeds at or below the current Athlon 64 offerings. The new models are the 3000+, 3200+ and 3500+ with clock speeds of 1.8 GHz, 2.0 GHz, and 2.2 GHz. Whether that was simply AMD being conservative or AMD trying to lower the cost of entry for socket 939 is difficult to say, but our early tests indicate that the 90 nm parts have plenty of headroom when paired with a quality OEM heatsink. The price on the 3500+ is actually slightly higher than the 130 nm version, once you factor in the cost of an after market HSF, but since enthusiasts are likely as not to purchase a quality HSF for their CPU it isn't a major concern. The 3000+ and 3200+, on the other hand, are priced to move at under $200, removing price as a barrier for entry into the socket 939 world. With the large amount of overlap in AMD's product names, it can be somewhat confusing, so remember to double check that you are getting the right CPU for your motherboard. We will have some articles that provide more information on these new CPU parts in the near future.
In addition to the recent 90 nm parts, AMD has the 4000+ and FX-55 scheduled for launch in the very near future. These are still 130 nm parts, although 90 nm parts are likely to become available at some point. We also have the 90 nm parts codenamed "San Diego" and "Venice" coming out in the first half of 2005. These are not the same as the currently shipping 90 nm parts, as they will include SSE3 support - 11 of the 13 PNI instructions will be supported; absent are the two instructions that relate to HyperThreading, which obviously does not affect performance on non-HyperThreading processors. These chips may include other tweaks to the Athlon 64 design as well, but we do not have any information on that yet - it does appear that the current 90 nm parts are nothing more than a die shrink of the Clawhammer, Sledgehammer and Newcastle cores.
In the second half of 2005, we will see the launch of the dual core "Toledo" processor, also with SSE3 support. While we do not list it here, dual core Opteron chips will be introduced for socket 940 before the socket 939 versions. There isn't a whole lot of detail on AMD's Athlon 64 plans for Q2 '05 and Q3 '05, other than that they will have >=4000+ and >=4200+ parts. The FX-57 is scheduled to launch around the same time as the Toledo core; so without speculating too much it would make sense if the FX-57 were to come with a dual core variant. If it is, clock speed is basically a complete unknown at this time, even for speculation. We'll be sure to update you with any information that becomes available.
If you're looking at that table and wondering where the future socket 754 Athlon 64 chips are, we have some bad news for you. As of now, we have no information on any future Athlon 64 CPUs for the platform. They may exist and we simply haven't heard about them, but more likely the 2.4 GHz 1 MB L2 3700+ will be the top end Athlon 64 processor for the platform. AMD has already begun to shift socket 754 into the value segment with the Sempron 3100+, and as you will see below, the future updates for the platform all bear the Sempron name.
|AMD Sempron Roadmap|
|Processor||Clock Speed||Socket||Launch Date|
|Sempron 3400+||???||Socket 754||Q3'05|
|Sempron 3300+||???||Socket 754||Q1'05|
|Sempron 3100+||1.8 GHz||Socket 754||Now|
|Sempron 3000+||???||Socket 754||Q1'05|
|Sempron 2800+||???||Socket 754||Q1'05|
|Sempron 2600+||???||Socket 754||Q1'05|
|Sempron 3000+||2.00 GHz 512K||Socket A||Soon|
|Sempron 2800+||2.0 GHz||Socket A||Now|
|Sempron 2600+||1.83 GHz||Socket A||Now|
|Sempron 2500+||1.75 GHz||Socket A||Now|
|Sempron 2400+||1.67 GHz||Socket A||Now|
|Sempron 2300+||1.58 GHz||Socket A||Now|
|Sempron 2200+||1.5 GHz||Socket A||Now|
Current plans for socket 754 include processors scaling up to 3400+ speeds - which we guess will be 2.2 GHz - with the most of the new models scheduled for introduction in March '05. We are getting conflicting reports on the clock number, but 2.2GHz seems in line with most of our sources.
The Sempron 3100+ chips that we have tested are usually able to reach 2.4 GHz without difficulty, so they should be able to produce plenty of cores. Previous socket 754 processors have always come in 200 MHz increments, but we might see the return of 100MHz increments with the Sempron line. With the price of the socket 754 chips trending to well under $100, overclocking enthusiasts will likely find a lot of bang for the buck out of the Sempron line. Unfortunately, in addition to the reduced amount of cache, all of the Semprons lack 64-bit support. That isn't a major concern yet, but it could be in another six months when we see the launch of Windows XP-64 and 64-bit applications. For those that are interested in 64-bit computing, you will want to spend the extra money for the Athlon 64.
Besides the currently shipping as well as planned "Sempron-754" chips listed above, we also have 90 nm versions on the way, codenamed Palermo. Palermo will continue to include 256K of L2 cache, but like the future 90 nm Athlon 64 chips, it will include support for SSE3. We could also hope that Palermo might reactivate the 64-bit support in these chips, but we would be somewhat surprised to see that happen. It just does not seem to match AMD's current market segmentation philosophy. Also worth pointing out is that Sempron chips for socket 939 have disappeared from the roadmaps; they may have been cancelled, or else they might just be missing. We'll keep you posted on any developments in that area.
Finally, we have additional bad news for those who still love their socket A motherboards. As you can see in the chart, the Sempron 3000+ is the only future processor for the platform. Oddly enough, AMD will also go back to the Barton core for this model, so it will perform similarly to the XP 2800+ - it's only 83 MHz slower. The Athlon XP line is scheduled to end production in early in 2005, according to the roadmaps we've seen, and if you look at current prices on the parts it already appears to be well underway. As for the Sempron processor on socket A, even that is scheduled to reach the end of the line by the second half of 2005.
The platform still offers reasonable performance, of course, but if you want to purchase a motherboard that will last through a couple more inexpensive CPU upgrades, socket A is not recommended. The introduction of the lower model Sempron-754 chips looks to be planned to take over as the socket A models are phased out. This is actually a good thing, as the integrated memory controller on socket 754 and later AMD chips helps out a lot with performance, and we will now see that feature pushed down into the value computing segment.
About the only weak point in AMD's plans right now is their continued use of 200 mm wafers. Their 65 nm parts are scheduled to finally make the switch to 300 mm wafers, which should boost their output capacity by roughly 125% at each fabrication facility that uses the larger wafers. In the mean time, they continue to provide high performance processors that compare very favorably with their Intel counterparts. Competition breeds lower prices, making this a great time for the computing enthusiast.