America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilisation in between. - Oscar Wilde
LAST THURSDAY AMD announced plans for the forthcoming year of 2009. This included the launch of the Shanghai-based Opterons, Deneb-based Phenom IIs, mainstream Athlons based on Propus, Rana and Regor cores and the anticipated netbook CPU Conesus (brand name to be confirmed).
The really good stuff AMD didn’t give up at a simple show of the analyst crowd. You had to woo and court the evasive company, take it for dinner and a movie… or do what IT168.com did, and get an insider to give up the goods before you get past the Maitre D’.
So, dear readers, put on your geek goggles and get ready for AMD’s desktop plan, a brand for every codename.
On January 8th, the fanboi collective will whip out their credit cards and pay tribute to the almighty Phenom II X4 940 – a 3GHz Deneb with 4x512KB L2 cache, 6MB of L3 cache and – targeting you-know-who with its unlocked cores. It’ll be an AM2+ part and will require a whole lot of cooling but AMD is promising 4GHz on air, upwards on liquids. The multiplier-locked Phenom II X4 920 will also launch, but clocking in at 2.8GHz.These will be the first - and only - AM2+ 900-series Phenom II parts, according to the data.
The following month – February - AMD will proceed to setup the Phenom II for the remainder of 2009. This will imply the AM3 repack and a decent drop in TDP, blasting open the damn that holds back the remainder of the 900-, 800- and 700-series. Together with the new 790FX and 790GX + SB750, these will be part of the Dragon desktop platform.
Come April, the stalwart defender of AMD’s virtue – the Athlon – gets itself shoved into quad- and tri-coreness through the introduction of the Propus and Rana L3-less cores. Regor, the dual-core Athlon will only see the light of day in June/July according to the slideware. However, it will immediately clock at 3GHz and 2.9GHz, which might provide some more muscle to drive the dual-core mainstream market.
Here, we get the nagging feeling, that AMD doesn’t want to label Athlon as a Phenom backup-brand. Someone is still pushing Athlon hard, from within AMD. Note that the initial speeds on the Athlon X4 max-out at 2.7GHz, possibly to avoid any price/performance friction with its Phenom II brothers when it actually goes on sale.
You can look at it this way... roughly 4 months from now, AMD will have turned out a cheaper quad-core that will match today’s Phenom X4 9950 in performance.
We tried to make heads from tails with the data and this is what we got:
We've only included the really new stuff in this table, of course. Agena Phenoms and 5xxx, 6xxx & 7xxx series Athlons will continue to thrive on the bottom end of the AMD CPU charts, as part of the Elements plan.
As we said before, this finally looks like a plan, which is a whole lot more than what was around a few months ago. It doesn’t mean Intel is feeling threatened by all this, no sirree, but it does give something AMD will need going into the New Year: a bit of confidence from its partners.
2009 might not be a one horse race, after all. µ
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