IN THIS FOUR-PART series we will reveal details of this week's AMD launch, widely slated to be a lifeline for the struggling firm.
We'll disclose how quiet/noisy they will be, prices, positioning and basically all there is to know about the launch of AMD's Spider Platform, as AMD is calling it.
Thus, AMD is launching its beasts to quench the thirst of people. Spider consists of AMD Phenom - the X4/X3/X2 naming convention is dead and Phenom FX processors, 790X/790FX, which are Crossfire and CrossfireX chipsets, and of course, Radeon HD 3850 and 3870 graphic cards.
Looking at a whole computer, this is the first time that a manufacturer is launching a complete 65nm and sub-65nm component, since all key parts - the Phenom, 770/780/790X/790FX, RV670 - are all made at 65nm or 55nm.
In comparison, launches of from Intel and Nvidia have at least one component manufactured in 90nm or even 130nm. This is quite important in terms of both die size and the thermal characteristics.
AMD is chanting its "Customer Centric Innovation" mantra like there's no tomorrow, but in all sincerity, that mantra does not go hand in hand with the statements we've heard from some AMD executives.
Also, the fact that the company is publicly launching two SKUs, while there are three SKUs two PCIe 2.0, one AGP part. AMD is , skipping the on 3850 with 512MB and 3870 with 1GB of video memory. A price affordable Black Edition instead of Phenom FX would also be what customers want.
AMD Phenom is manufactured in 65nm process at Fab36 in Dresden, andthe main features are something that it calls “Native Quad-Core”, HyperTransport 3.0, and DDR2-1066 memory support. Quite frankly, we care only about the number of cores, not threads, n Windows Task Manager, but that's a marchitectural quibble.
AMD is relying on the fact that it is better to provide a memory controller that creates the possibility that a user gets 8GB of DDR2-1066 for the equal amount he would have to shell out for 2-3 GB of DDR3 memory. Of course, the biggest problem that AMD marketing dept has is showing its advantages to the general public, an area where this company failed miserably in the past.
On AMD's roadmaps, the 65nm Phenom series fits into the middle, with 45nm Phenoms coming in the middle of 2008, and a complete new core coming in 2009. This core will be an answer to Intel's Nehalem, but what AMD is not saying is what Fusion will be used for. If you think that it will be only Bulldozer cores plus some R7xx-based Radeon GPU, you're quite wrong. The Opterons will end up fused as well, the most interesting part will be bringing GPUs with HyperTransport 3.0 and beyond put into the chips themselves.
When it comes to the actual line-up, AMD is launching Phenom 9000 series with three models, 2.2, 2.3 and 2.4 GHz. They all use HT 3.0 with a link speed of 3.6 GHz. It is quite interesting to see the “FSB” clock overtaking the actual physical clock of the CPU cores, but AMD has to pay the price for milking on 90nm process and shifting engineers from 65nm development onto a previous generation.
Phenom FX will be a single product at launch, but that will not happen on November 19th, but rather during December, as a sort of Yuletide present. Somehow, AMD needs to put a 3GHz part into this year, but if no volumes can be made, these guys are set for rough times. During the first quarter of next year - probably around CeBIT 2008, the Phenom 8000 series will appear. Phenom 8000 is nothing more but Tollman, a Tri-Core part, the Agena minus one core . So, if the 9000 series was known as Agena, Phenom FX-8x parts are known as Agena FX.
Phenom X2 has been canned, and the part will be known as the Athlon 6000 series.
When it comes to performance, AMD will allow hacks to tap into Phenoms for the very first time , so you will be able to see just how high can 3DMark06 score go in CrossFireX configurations.
AMD's slideware hides the actual performance numbers, but the lads put AMD Phenom 9500 (2.2 GHz) system as the 100%, baseline performance system. In further slideware, it was revealed that Overall Performance (Office Productivity + Digital Media + Gaming) will take Phenom 9700 5.4% faster than the 9500 (2.2 GHz), while competing Core 2 Quad Q6600 scores 2.5% more than 2.2 GHz. In Office Productivity itself, 9700 is 5.7%, while Q6600 is 3.2% faster. Digital Media puts Intel on top with 10.4% advantage over baseline mode, while clock-per-clock competitor was 8.5% faster than baseline. In gaming, 9700 system scores 2.2% faster results than baseline, while Q6600 is 3.6% slower than baseline.
Confused? We don't blame you. Real scores are ones that will matter, while these aggregated scores can be tweaked to show one or other side winning, depending are we seeing black slides with green chars, or blue slides with white characters. µ
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