Intel’s Centrino brand has developed extremely well since its introduction less than two years ago.  You could go as far as to say that Centrino has been Intel’s quickest zero-to-success brand that we’ve ever seen in the history of the company.  A very large part of the success is due to the strong technology behind Centrino

AMD doesn’t have the resources of Intel, that’s plain and simple.  They have done an excellent job with their K8 architecture, but for AMD to devote additional resources to developing another architecture, strictly mobile oriented, it’s just not possible at this time.  At the same time, AMD’s Athlon 64 is far more suited for mobile environments than Intel’s Pentium 4 ever was, so the need for a mobile specific architecture isn’t as great for AMD as it was for Intel.  So when AMD announced their Turion 64 “Mobile Technology” we had a feeling it would be something very similar to their desktop Athlon 64s, today AMD confirmed that.

Much like Intel’s Centrino, AMD is referring to their Turion 64 as a “Mobile Technology” and not just a microprocessor platform.  AMD has seen the success of Intel’s Centrino Mobile Technology and is hoping to capitalize on some of that success.  Unlike Centrino however, Turion 64 doesn’t rely on AMD-supplied chips to receive the branding.  AMD will provide the Turion 64 processors, but chipsets can be provided by a number of vendors as can the LAN and wireless controllers.  AMD is far less restricting on the components that make up Turion 64 enabled notebooks, which means that they will inevitably be cheaper than Centrino platforms, but it also means that they may not be as power efficient as Centrino platforms - it’s a tradeoff that AMD honestly had to make, as they are far from being in Intel’s position. 

The Turion 64 processor is basically a 90nm mobile Athlon 64, so all of the architectural features of the Athlon 64 make their way to the Turion 64.  One advantage that the Turion 64 has is that with an on-die memory controller, AMD can potentially offer lower memory controller power consumption than Intel. 

The Turion 64 is based on the latest revision E4 of the K8 core, meaning that it supports SSE3 instructions as well as lower power states.  The Turion 64 line also supports AMD’s PowerNow technology (known as Cool’N’Quiet on the desktop), which allows for clock speed (and voltage) modulation between 1.0GHz and the processor’s maximum frequency based on load. 

The Turion 64 will be available in both 1MB L2 and 512KB L2 cache models, but both models will only support a 64-bit (single channel) DDR400 memory controller.  The first Turion 64s will be available in speeds ranging from 1.6GHz up to 2.0GHz.

With the Turion 64 AMD is introducing a new model numbering system to help differentiate various Turion CPUs from one another (and to separate the Turion 64 line from the Athlon 64 line):

As the chart above shows, currently AMD has two Turion lines - a 35W TDP and a 25W TDP line (note that Intel’s Pentium M 755 has a 22W TDP but they are measured differently from AMD).  The second letter in the model number indicates the level of power consumption of the processor, with “higher” letters denoting lower power consumption (e.g. MT-34 has lower power consumption than the ML-34).  AMD is clearly doing a bit of chip binning, with chips capable of running at lower voltages (and thus lower power) being set aside for the Turion 64 line.  This isn’t much of a surprise as they do a similar thing on the server side to create their low power Opteron HE and EE chips (50W and 30W respectively). 

The two digits, as usual, indicate clock speed/cache size and other performance impacting features. 

Performance, Availability and Final Words


View All Comments

  • Houdani - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    Seems the MT models are only $5 more (in bulk) than the ML models. If you had the choice, would you really even consider the ML if the MT is readily available? Hopefully the mark-up on the MT's won't be astronomical.

    19: I'm pretty sure I don't agree with your "bias" accusation. Turion is equivalent to the Pentium M 75x models, which is what is being compared here.
  • AlexWade - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    I like my Centrino IBM laptop because I get 5 hours of battary life out of it. One time, I left it on all night with the Wi-Fi, bluetooth, and monitor turned off and still had a ton of battary life left. Although I will never buy Intel for the PC, it will take an impressive feat by AMD for me to switch over for the laptops.

    All I care about in laptops is battary life. All I want to know is can Turion get longer battary than Centrino?
  • coldpower27 - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    Some minor spelling mistakes.

    "we compared it to the Socket-745 Athlon 64 2800+ (1.8GHz) - which is very similar to the Turion 64 ML-32 (1.8GHz/512KB)."

    Obviously it's S754.

    "note that Intel’s Pentium M 755 has a 22W TDP"

    21W TDP for the Pentium M Dothan with 400FSB.
  • ozzimark - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    #19- it doesn't need chipsets from amd..
    the nf4, nf3 and via chipsets will all work with this chip. the current 754 mobo's should also work with just a mere bios update to recognize the cpu.
  • Questar - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    Nice biased reporting there Anand.

    Did you forget about the ultra low voltage Pentium M that's only 5.5 watts? How about we compare this thing to Intels ultra portable offering?

    No chipsets from AMD either...No one stop shopping for OEMs. Do you have any idea how important this is?

  • coldpower27 - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    That's the thing the 115W parts are based on the highest desktop parts available. A low voltage P4 Prescott wouln't be in that range as they would run with lower voltage.

    A reasonable estimate would be 50-70 range for the low voltage P4 Prescott. Although with clock frequencies only in the 2.8GHZ - 3.2GHZ range. Though since 60W is still quite hefty power consumption Intel decided they needed another processor altogether and hence the Pentium M.

    No doubt though 25W is great, AMD's K8 arhictecture offers flexibility, which is crucial for a company like AMD which can't afford multiple lines.
  • raskren - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    The problem is AMD is marketing this like it is an entirely new technology which is not true. It is misleading. Which is why I think if things were reveresed this article would have about 20+ pages of negative commentary.

    Intel's Pentium M is an extension of the P3 architecture. It is NOT binned P3 chips. Dothan is NOT a Pentium III anymore. It is a Pentium M.

    Intel has used desktop Pentium 3 and 4 chips in notebooks, as you all know. The difference here is that they don't try and conceal the fact they're desktop CPUs - they're the Pentium 4 Mobile. Big difference from Centrino.
  • bob661 - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    Most people here like the Centrino platform, including me, so AMD will have its work cut out for them. Reply
  • blackbrrd - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    #12 If Intel had taken a binned, low-voltage [115W] P4 and slapped a Centrino sticker on it, everyone here would be bashing to no end.

    No wonder, it would still heat up your laptop like hell.

    Amd is taking a 35W Amd64, binning it at selling it like a "centrino".

    What is the problem?

    It is not as if the Dothan is anything but a P3 on speed, same as the A64 is a K7 on speed... (P3 and K7 is the same generation cpu).

    Having the memorycontroller on the cpu must be more power (double meaning) efficient than having it on the northbridge and the chipset must be easier to make.... sooo... what is wrong with amd beeing able to use their desktop cpus as laptop cpus?

    Nobody ever complained when intel did that with the P3 series... The P4 series on the other hand (prescot) is so hot it is idiotic to use it in laptops...

    I am not saying Turion is the holy grail of laptops. I want to see performance/heat/battery time tests before I give it my "Approved" stamp.
  • brownba - Thursday, March 10, 2005 - link

    #12 spoke well.

    unless there's something we're not being told... this is very uneventful and very uninformational

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now