Barcelona Demos and Motherboards

Much to our dismay and definitely against our recommendations, AMD will not follow in Intel's footsteps and let us do a performance preview of Agena or Barcelona. In fact, AMD wouldn't even let us know what clock speeds its demo systems were running at. While we cautioned AMD that a lack of information disclosure at this point would only reinforce this idea that AMD is lagging far behind Intel, AMD's counterpoint does have some validity. AMD's reasoning for not disclosing more information today has to do with not wanting to show all of its cards up front, and to give Intel the opportunity to react. We still don't believe it's the right decision, and we can't help but believe that the reason for not disclosing performance today is because performance isn't where it needs to be, but only AMD knows for sure at this point.

In order to combat worries that Barcelona is fundamentally broken, AMD did give us a couple of live demos of an 8-core QuadFX system and a 4-core Socket-AM2+ system. AMD ran Cinebench as well as Nero Recode on the systems, but it did not let us measure performance on either. Both systems worked fine; they didn't get too hot and they didn't crash.

Undoubtedly Agena and Agena FX work. We suspect that clock speeds aren't quite as high as they need to be but we don't doubt that AMD can get there by its scheduled release sometime in the second half of this year.

AMD also let us get up close and personal with the motherboards used in these systems, but we can't disclose details about the chipsets used just yet. Keep in mind that what you're looking at is AMD's next-generation desktop chipset solution.

The Hammerhead reference board is AMD's Socket-AM2+ reference board that was used in the quad-core Agena system above:


Up and running

The motherboard - Click to Enlarge





All four cores, loaded and running


Socket-AM2+

The Wahoo reference board is AMD's QuadFX Socket-1207+ reference board, used in the eight-core Agena FX system:



Quad core per socket x two sockets


All eight cores, locked and loaded

The Wahoo Motherboard - Click to Enlarge



Socket-1207+


And here's the man that made sure we could see these demos - AMD's Ian McNaughton:


He's also the guy that prevented us from running benchmarks, and hid the Cinebench scores from us:


New Details on Barcelona Emerge Roadmap and Conclusion
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  • sprockkets - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    Yeah, and the cheapest CPU I ever bought was an AMD Sempron for $29. Reply
  • goinginstyle - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    So with your logic, if the reviews about Barcelona end up being positive and glowing then we know AMD paid off the reviewers? Reply
  • R3MF - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    I am delighted to hear that AMD is on the bounce, as i have always cheered for them.

    With the exception of my current C2D PC, i have always bought AMD rigs:
    1.2GHz Thunderbird
    1.7GHz Thoroughbred
    2.0GHz Athlon 64
    2.0GHz Athlon X2

    So no-one will be more than happy than I to be able to return to the fold, with a shiny new AMD quad-core.

    However, if you expect me to buy AMD powered chipsets and graphics cards, then AMD had better pull their socks up on linux support.

    I buy nvidia chipsets and graphics cards not because they make better hardware than AMD/ATI, but because i know that i have excellent support in the form of BOTH windows and linux driver support.

    Sort that out and I may become an entirely AMD devotee.

    If AMD sticks with cack linux drivers along with scuppering nVidia support, then I will wave goodbye to AMD and buy a second Intel/nVidia rig in Autumn this year.

    Best of luck AMD, I want you to succeed.
    Reply
  • MrJim - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    Excellent article Anand! Feels very "honest", i think many big corporations must change the way the think about transparency towards the public. Great work. Reply
  • Viditor - Friday, May 11, 2007 - link

    Nice article Anand...
    One point, you stated "By the middle of this year AMD's Fab 36 will be completely transitioned over to 65nm"...
    Not to pick nits, but didn't AMD just recently announce that all wafer starts were now 65nm at Fab 36? (or are you speaking of wafer outs...?)
    Reply

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