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AMD - The Road Ahead

Current Socket 939 owners are probably wondering if they will ever see a 65nm processor as a drop in upgrade. I couldn’t get a definite yes or no from Jochen, but I was told that if there is demand, AMD can and will do so. Considering that initial AM2 processors will be 90nm, you could be in for a wait though.

Unlike Socket 754 which once superseded, became the budget platform, AM2 will be replacing both Socket 754 and Socket 939 as the choice for everything from budget to high end. Price and chosen chipset will differentiate a budget board from anything else.

As mentioned, initial AM2 parts will be 90nm, using 800MHz DDR2 memory. There is a very high chance that Level 3 cache will be finding its way into the architecture too, most likely as a way to compensate for DDR II latencies. When asked about the possibility of sharing Level 2 cache, in the same way that Intel Core Duo chips do, it was suggested that this method would not suit the current AMD architecture. Coprocessors were touched on, suggesting they could be implemented easily into the current design. Initial pricing has be released separately, as seen below.

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A new concept (to me at least) was that of a DUD – Dressed Up Desktop. This is where small businesses are using a desktop machine ‘dressed up’ as a server. I’m guilty of this crime, if it can be considered that. AMD would prefer to see people using a server ‘solution’. When queried over the fact that Opteron and Athlon 64 are so similar, Jochen put emphasis on the fact Opteron motherboards are considerably more stable with features pitched more at servers, such as dual Gigabit Ethernet. Considering how many motherboards come through our labs with dual Gigabit Ethernet, I’m not so sure people should be rushing out to replace their DUDs.

All in all, things are rolling along as usual on planet AMD and we are certainly going to be seeing some major improvements over the coming year. However, AMD certainly isn't panicking over Conroe, but then how can it prepare for a product that still isn’t out?

AMD wants to deliver the “right solutions at the right times”. Let’s just hope its idea of the right time is the same as ours.

Links: AMD

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