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AMD finally breaks the 3GHz barrier

Honour goes to Fab36-built Opterons
Fri Mar 31 2006, 16:57
AMD IS DESPERATELY trying to rebound against the impressive Intel Conroe demo shown at IDF, weeks back. While we know that Woodcrest is on target for a Q4 introduction as well, things are heating up in the processing arena.

AMD will use its 65 nanometre party in Prague next week to talk about the progress company is making with production ramp of its Fab 36, but at the same time, the company will introduce its fastest clocked production CPU. Yes, AMD is finally introducing a 3GHz part, breaking a "record" set by the infamous Athlon 64 FX-57, a 2.8GHz clocked part released back in 2005.

The most interesting part about this launch is the fact that we're not talking about a dual core compontent, but rather a single core part - the first single-core part introduced after FX-57 as well. The spanking new Opteron 256 and 856 are built inside a 95W thermal envelope and feature 128KB of L1 and 1024KB of L2 cache, using the same old Socket 940. The launch date is set for April the 4th or April 6th, the date of AMD's gig.

When it comes to the dual core parts, the company is gearing up for introduction of 290/890 processors, which are also using existing Socket 940 infrastructures. The 290/890 is clocked at 2.8 GHz, and they come with two cores, each featuring 128KB of L1 and 1024 KB of L2 cache. Frontside bus is the same on all parts, two 16-bit HyperTransport links clocked at 1GHz each. Best part of this dual-core part is that is still using the very same thermal envelope 3GHz CPU's are using - 95W.

You should not expect a 3GHz dual-core product before Q3 and the release of Conroe/WoodCrest combo. Also, the first dual core to reach 3GHz will not be an Athlon 64, but rather an Opteron product.

When it comes to a life like struggle between the new Socket F and existing Socket 940, bear in mind that the company has a "commercial Stable Image Platform" programme, which it claims guarantees the availability of Opterons clocked at 2.4, 2.6 and 2.8 GHz throughout 2006 and better part of 2007. Probably before quad core starts eating up the space on 300mm wafers from Fab36 and Chartered's Fab7. µ


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