Performance, Availability and Final Words

Despite the fact that the Turion 64 line was just announced, it turns out that we actually did a Pentium M vs. Turion 64 performance comparison about a year ago.  When Intel launched the Dothan Pentium M core, we compared it to the Socket-754 Athlon 64 2800+ (1.8GHz) - which is very similar to the Turion 64 ML-32 (1.8GHz/512KB).  While the performance comparison isn't identical to a Turion 64 notebook, it should give you an idea of how competitive the Turion 64 will be performance-wise, with the Pentium M.

As you can see, AMD should have no problem remaining performance competitive with the Pentium M, but there are obviously many other factors that aren't depicted in the article mentioned above.  Mainly we have no idea how the Turion 64 will fare in a power consumption comparison, or how competitive it is from a form factor standpoint.  AMD has been aiming at the thin-and-light market from the start with Turion 64, but there's no guarantee that the Turion 64 can get into as thin and as light notebooks as Centrino.  AMD has always been one step behind Intel when it came to chip packaging, which carries a lot of weight in form factor discussions. 

AMD lists Turion 64 chip availability as immediately with the following price structure:

"AMD Turion 64 mobile technology models ML-37, ML-34, ML-32, ML-30, MT-34, MT-32, and MT-30 are priced at $354, $263, $220, $184, $268, $225 and $189 respectively, in 1,000-unit quantities."

Acer and Fujitsu will have Turion 64 notebooks available by the end of the month.  AMD also announced that: "ASUS, Averatec, BenQ, MSI and Packard Bell are among the  leading, global computer manufacturers who have indicated they will support AMD Turion 64 mobile technology."  So it sounds like we will see a few others with Turion 64 platforms, but still a few short of a complete list of partners.

With the Turion 64, AMD is doing more of a marketing repackaging of their Athlon 64 than anything else.  While it's going to be tough to best Intel's Centrino in overall packaging, the Turion 64 may just be close enough for AMD to be happy.  It all boils down to implementation, and it'll be tough for Turion to break into the more exotic Centrino markets but it shouldn't have a problem competing in the more mainstream priced Centrino notebooks. 



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  • yanon - Friday, March 11, 2005 - link

    "ASUS, Averatec, BenQ, MSI and Packard Bell are among the leading, global computer manufacturers who have indicated they will support AMD Turion 64 mobile technology."
    Packard Bell !!! Does it still exist?
  • RockHydra11 - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    If these are anything like Athlon 64s, they will be more balanced than Pentium M chips performance-wise in the big picture. This should give AMD an edge. Reply
  • alangeering - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    #21, #24, #30, et al,

    Thanks guys, I spotted the single channel mem contorller soon after I posted so realised that it had to be the 754 part. I just wondered whether AMD would go to another socket for these processors to stop their use in other desktop PCs. It seems from what I'm reading that it is just a S754 arrangement.

    Oh well, this, I guess, means no dual core Turion? Or are AMD going to release a 754 dual core part? I thought dual core was going to be a S939 and newer thing.

    So when we see dual core Pentium-M, will AMD be able to respond?

    I do like the idea of 1Mb L2 cache, my S939 A64 3000+ is rather lacking in that area, but I think I will stick with S939 so I can upgrade in 2 years time (hoping for cheap dual core).

    Thanks again,
  • JarredWalton - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    #11 - as #26 pointed out, nF4 is certainly capable of being put into a small space. The Shuttle XPC SN25P I just reviewed definitely has a smaller motherboard than uATX, an it could be made smaller yet if it were targeting a laptop configuration. Pictures are available in the article:
  • bersl2 - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    #28: The thing that gives the P-M such performance might be its low latency---at least on cache hits, that is.

    I think it will perform more or less equally well, with somewhat worse battery life. Hopefully, though, this will be offset by a lower price, which AMD often brings.
  • abakshi - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    Well this is probably perfect for AMD -- not many resources involved in developing it (just in adjusting A64 for a lower TDP and overall better mobile package), and a decent effect on the market.

    Dothan is a nice chip - at 1.6 Ghz, it matches most P4's in the low 2 Ghz range (on the P4 533FSB). At 2.0, on the 400 FSB, it matches upper level P4's, is furthered by the 533 FSB, and OC'ed, in many cases, it can beat the top performers in the market (A64 4000+, P4 EE) in certain areas, all at a power/heat level far lower than that of the Oven (oops I mean Prescott), Northwood, or AMD64 lineup.

    But P-M has some issues - floating point performance is weak, as is multitasking (which is not aided by the lack of HT). These two issues should be fixed by the dual-core setup. Now that will be very interesting...

    So I think Turion will be somewhere in the middle -- won't match P-M's power or heat efficiency, or its top-end performance, but it'll be a solid stopgap measure in between. Athlon 64 isn't the best multitasking performer either, and that'll pass on to the Turion, but it's not bad, and if adopted may give P-M a run for its money.

    Will I buy it, probably not :-) But it might be effective in the mid-range.

    Until we see dual-core P-M's on the market, I'll enjoy my P4 3.0 / 533 Northwood on my laptop. 2 hour battery is not too bad, if I can do some serious stuff while it's lasts :-)
  • ZobarStyl - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    While this isn't the greatest thing since sliced bread, I like the idea, since we will actually get performance and decent battery life. And for the guy who says that if Intel had just slapped a Centrino sticker on a P4, well, of course people would be mad, it would sear the flesh off your legs. AMD has a cooler, lower voltage part for desktop; it makes perfect sense to simply adapt it to mobile. Dothan is very nice but it has minor flaws; the A64 may just give Centrino as run for it's money. Reply
  • glennpratt - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    #11 filterxg... Your wrong... Thier certainly seems to be no technical reason for not making miniITX NF4 motherboards.
  • bwall04 - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

  • kb3edk - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    #8 (alangeering) -

    As ozzimark mentions, this is going to be Socket 754. I think the chip has really good potential for SFF mATX systems as well as laptops.

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