According to DigiTimes, AMD will launch half a dozen 45nm Athlon processors by June of 2009. The quad-core Athlon X4 615 and 605 and triple-core Athlon X3 420 and 410 are expected to ship in April 2009, with the company's dual-core Athlon X2 240 and 235 coming a bit later in June 2009.
AMD has also been busy planning last order notices for its upcoming 45nm AM2+ Phenom II X4 920 and 940 Black Edition processors, which the company plans to issue in May 2009. Meanwhile, the Santa Clara chip maker will no longer take orders for its quad-core Phenom X4 9650. More Phenom last order notices aren't far behind, with AMD's Phenom X4 9950 (140W) and 9850 (125W) getting theirs in March of next year, and the Phenom X4 9750, 9850 (95W), and 9950 (125W) in June 2009.
But wait, there's more! DigiTimes says AMD's triple-core Phenom X3 8450 and 8550 are nearing their end of life in the market place, while the Phenom X3 8650 will have its last order notice issued in March 2009. The Phenom X3 8850 and 8750 CPUs will follow the same fate in June. And finally, AMD's Athlon X2 4450e chip, a low-power CPU, will be phased out in March 2009.
Phew! That's a lot of chips getting ready to head to the chopping block. Plan accordingly, AMD fans.
With the release of Intel's Core i7 lineup, it appeared Intel and Nvidia might be on the path to patching up their relationship as the two finally came to terms with licensing Nvidia's SLI technology on Intel's X58 chipset. But don't call them BFFs just yet.
Nvidia recently announced plans to release its Ion platform, a low power netbook solution which would pair the company's GeForce 9400M chipset with Intel's Atom processor. According to Nvidia, users would be able to play popular games on the Ion platform, like Call of Duty 4. The only problem is Intel doesn't appear to have any intention of sharing its Atom processor with Nvidia.
According to DigiTimes, an internal statement distributed to hardware makers reiterated Intel's stance that its Atom processors would only come bundled with the chip maker's 945GSE and 945GC chipsets. The news site also claims Intel indicated it has no plans to validate the Nvidia MCP79 chipset on Atom-based platforms, nor does it plan to partner with Nvidia to support nettops or netbooks.
AMD could really use a compelling CPU launch to win back favor among enthusiasts and turn its financial struggles around, and the company hopes its upcoming Phenom II processor line will do just that. Last month the chip maker demoed a Phenom II being overclocked on a variety of cooling solutions culminating with a 5GHz run using LN2, and now end-users putting the Phenom II's overclocking prowess to the test are seeing similar results.
During Tom's Hardware's Overdrive overclocking finals in Paris, teams from all over the world competed for the highest scores using Intel's Core i7 platform, but AMD's Phenom II also made an appearance. With the help of one of the competitors, the news and review site took the 940 Phenom X4 BE II from its stock 3GHz frequency up to 4.957GHz using a Gigabyte motherboard and liquid nitrogen cooling. Ironically, the extreme cooling may have prevented the quad-core chip's overclocking ceiling, as Tom's Hardware claims "it has an issue of locking at temperatures below -70°C."
Not many system builders are going to interested in keeping a supply of LN2 handy, but what's interesting to note is the frequency headroom AMD's next generation Phenom chips appear to offer. During AMD's demo, the 45nm quad-core chip still broke the 4GHz barrier on air and water cooling, which bodes well for Phenom II and perhaps AMD's immediate future.
AMD is expected to launch Phenom II in January 2009.
Two months ago AMD made the decision to split into separate design and manufacturing companies. Under terms of the deal, which involved significant investments from the Abu Dhabi government, AMD was to own 44 percent of the new entity involved with chip making, temporarily known as the Foundry Company.
More recently, AMD cut its 4Q revenue forecast by 25 percent citing a sluggish global economy as the culprit. In an effort to reduce its manufacturing costs and realign itself with the current state of the economy, AMD said it will own less of the Foundry Company spinoff.
Abu-Dhabi-based Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC) was already a majority owner in the Foundry, and under terms of the new deal, ATIC will increase its share to 65.8 percent, with AMD dropping down to 34.2 percent. Other changes to the original deal include a restructured agreement that now says Mubadala, a minority owner, will purchase 58 million shares of AMD's common stock at a revised purchase price.
"All other material economic terms of the transaction agreements remain unchanged. ATIC will still invest $2.1 billion to purchase its stake in the Foundry Company, of which it will invest $1.4 billion directly in the new entity and will pay $700 million to AMD," the chipmaker said in a statement.
Don't fret if you just plunked down a wad of cash for a 45nm processor, you're still ahead of the curve. And while 32nm chips aren't 'just around the corner,' they have officially moved into the production phase and it looks as though Intel will make the transition on schedule. The first commercial processors on the shrunken die process are expected to debut by the end of 2009.
Moving to 32nm isn't without its technological challenges, and Intel will use a second-generation high-K gate material to contain leakage current, TGDaily reports. The chip maker will also transition to a 193nm immersion lithography production technology to print the circuits on the chips, something AMD already does on its 45nm parts.
Should Intel not run into any product-delaying roadblocks, the switch to 32nm will put the chip maker at least a year ahead of AMD, whose roadmap shows a 32nm server processor scheduled for 2010 (consumer processors built on a 32nm manufacturing process aren't expected until 2011). And looking past 32nm, 22nm technology has moved out of research and into development, putting it on pace for a 2013 release.
Intel will give more details on its next generation chips at the International Electron Devices meeting (IEDM) in San Francisco on December 15th.
In case you haven't noticed, multi-core processing has taken hold and the race is on to cram more cores onto a single die. But assuming developers can keep up, at some point, chip manufacturers are going to have address a potential major problem that could make adding more cores a useless endeavor. More specifically, a "memory wall" looms large in the not too distant future that, as Jon Stokes from ArsTechnica puts it, could make more than 16 cores pointless.
The problem stems from memory bandwidth not being able to keep pace with faster processors, whether those speed bumps come from a faster frequency or more cores. Put simply, memory is creating a bottleneck and can't feed the processor fast enough, a problem that has existed for some time. Intel and AMD have been able to mask the problem by adding more cache, but doing so doesn't overcome the memory wall, which looks poised to really rear its ugly head as more cores are piled on to new chip packages.
"Engineers at Sandia National Laboratories, in New Mexico, have simulated future high-performance computers containing the 8-core, 16‑core, and 32-core microprocessors that chip makers say are the future of the industry," writes Samuel K. Moore at IEEE Spectrum Online. "The results are distressing. Because of limited memory bandwidth and memory-management schemes that are poorly suited to supercomputers, the performance of these machines would level off or even decline with more cores."
Hit the jump to find out what solutions are being proposed.
According to VIA's recently revealed processor roadmap, the company will begin mass producing dual-core Nano CPUs in June of 2010. The late entry would appear to give Intel a significant head start, as the chip maker has already launched its dual-core Atom 330 CPU. But unlike Intel's chip, VIA's dual-core Nano will zero in on both netbooks (notebooks) and nettops (desktops) instead of strictly nettops.
However, Intel might still beat VIA to the punch with Pineview, the company's dual-core Atom part with an integrated graphics solution. That is, if Intel makes the new chip available for netbooks. If not, Intel would be leaving the door open for VIA to step in as the only one to offer a dual-core solution for the uber popular netbook sector. Moreover, despite Nano's lack of penetration thus far, benchmarks typically show the chip outpacing Intel's Atom, albeit while also consuming more power.
Meanwhile, it seems nobody knows exactly what AMD has planned. The chip maker previously announced it was skipping the netbook market, but at the same time would target mini-notebooks. Should the markets overlap, or if AMD has a competitive change of heart, it could make for an interesting three-way battle royal.
Intel has released a new mainstream Core 2 Quad processor in the Q8300. The new 45nm chip comes clocked at 2.5GHz on a 1333MHz front side bus just like the Q9300, but with 4MB of L2 cache instead of 6MB. Look for the chip to sell for around $224.
The new CPU will also likely mark the end of the line for Intel's Core 2 Quad lineup, at least for the immediate future. Of course, Intel will continue to make quad-core processors, just not for the suddenly defunct Core 2 platform. Instead, the company appears to moving all of its efforts to Core i7 and, as Stanley Huang, director of marketing and technical services of Intel's Asia Pacific division said in a statement, boosting Centrino 2's penetration rate.
Huang also reaffirmed that the company's Calpella platform is on schedule despite rumors that it might be delayed for a 2010 launch.
If your graphics card doesn't support DirectX 10 or 10.1, don't worry about it, Microsoft has your back. The resourceful programmers at Redmond are working on a new component called WARP10 (Windows Advanced Rasterization Platform) to be included in Windows 7, which essentially ports DX10 duties to the CPU.
The upshot is that everyone will have access to DX10 eye candy even if the hardware doesn't support it. Minimum requirements for WARP10 are the same as they are for Vista - an 800MHz processor and 512MB of RAM. So if you have the hardware to run Windows 7, then in theory, you should be able to enable advanced effects regardless of your videocard.
"Our primary goal during WARP10 development was to produce a rasterizer that met or exceeded all the precision and conformance requirements of the Direct3D 10 and 10.1 specifications," writes Andy Glaister, Principal Development Lead of Microsoft Desktop and Graphics Technologies. "We wanted to do this while achieving a high level or reliability and stability. If this rasterizer was going to be used as a fallback for when hardware was not functioning, it’s important that it worked in all scenarios, configurations and different types of machines."
Hit the jump to find out how WARP10 compares to integrated graphics.
Forget about chocolate, flowers, or diamonds, because the real buying decision come Valentine's Day will be what processor to indulge in. It's no stretch to say the entire tech world will remain infatuated with Intel's Core i7 platform by the time February rolls around, but Intel won't be the only one trying to woo consumers. According to DigiTimes, motherboard manufacturers are busy preparing for a sextuplet of 45nm quad-core AM3-based CPUs from AMD in February.
Phenom II X4 710 (2.6GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
Phenom II X4 720 (2.8GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
Phenom II X4 805 (2.5GHz, 4MB L3 cache)
Phenom II X4 810 (2.6GHz, 4MB L3 cache)
Phenom II X4 910 (2.6GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
Phenom II X4 925 (2.8GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
The same sources that have been whispering sweet-somethings to DigiTimes also say that AMD will follow up it's busy February release schedule with more 45nm CPUs in April, but they won't be Phenom parts. Instead, look for Athlon-branded chips without the shared L3 cache. Additionally, the chip maker plans to release the quad-core Athlon X4 600 family and tri-core Athlon X3 family at the same time. And if you can wait until June, sources say AMD will introduce it's 45nm dual-core Athlon X2 200 series.