Down but not out, AMD may be gearing up to turn its fortunes around in early 2009. The optimism comes courtesy of Chinese-language website HKEPC, which claims to have the skinny on 10 new AMD processors expected to be released during the next three quarters. And where is HKEPC getting their information? Un-named motherboard makers, of course.
According to the report, AMD will begin production of two versions of what it has code named Deneb later this year. One version of Deneb boasting clockspeeds between 2.6GHz to 3.0GHz will have a thermal envelop of 125W, while another version, clocked between 2.4GHz and 2.8GHz, will come rated at 95W. The latter is expected in Q1 2009.
AMD's Propus processors will have smaller amounts of cache than their Deneb brethren, and those carrying the EE designation will consume just 45W. HKEPC says to AMD will start producing Propus parts in the Q1 and Q2 of 2009.
While the world looks ahead to Core i7, the first processor sporting the Nehalem architecture, Intel continues to tweak its currently shipping CPUs, this time for the server market. The new Xeon X5492 takes its place as the flagship Xeon processor, bumping the clockspeed from the previous high of 3.2GHz to 3.4GHz. The frontside-bus also gets a boost, settling in at 1.6GHz.
Intel also released the X5470, a slightly slower 3.33GHz part on a 1.33GHz frontside-bus. The lower clockspeeds allow the chip to consume a more modest 120W, compared to the X5492's 150W peak power draw. An even lower power L5430 makes a debut too. Aimed at small-profile desktops, the L5430 sips just 50W at 2.66GHz.
All three quad-core chips are available now with large-batch pricing from $562 (L5430) to $1,493 (X5492).
Intel's already popular Atom chip may get a whole lot more interesting next year if a leaked slide turns out to be accurate. The slide comes courtesy of Japanese technology news site PCWatch, and it shows that Intel plans on bringing a next-generation Atom chip to market in Q3 2009. Code named Pineview, the CPU will come in both dual- and single-core versions, according to the report.
But the biggest news with the new Atom is its Lincroft microarchitecture. Lincroft differs from the current Silverthorne microarchitecture by integrating both a GPU core and a memory controller into the chip package. How exactly Intel plans to mesh a GPU core remains a mystery, but such a feat would spark an already booming Netbook market, assuming it would even be made available for Netbook systems.
Making things even more interesting, AMD is reportedly readying its own Atom competitor code named Bobcat, which is expected to be a single-core 1GHz AMD64 processorwith 256kb of L2 cache with an 8W power draw.
It appears AMD will tag upcoming Phenom processors with the FX nomenclature the company has used in the past. You might recall AMD's Athlon FX line sported both higher clockspeeds and an unlocked multiplier while carrying a premium price tag.
Not much is known about the upcoming Phenom FX line, but it's believed the new processors will be basaed on the Deneb FX core with four processing engines, shared L3 cache, and built on a 45nm process. TomsHardware reports the Phenom FX line will make a debut in mid-2009 on AMD's new AM3 socket platform. Whether or not AM2 platform owners will be left out in the cold remains to be seen, but AMD has previously stated that AM3 processors will work in AM2 sockets.
Pricing has yet to be revealed, and traditionally AMD's FX CPUs have held the upper end of the pricing spectrum. But at the same time, even AMD's current 'Black Edition' processors, which also boast an unlocked multiplier, don't break the bank. The company's flagship Phenom 9950 Black Edition commands less than $200 on Newegg.
AMD, the one company in a position to give Intel a run for its money, has seen just how hard it is to keep up. Ever since Intel woke up from its Netburst slumber, the mostly two-man CPU market has been dominated by Intel and its Core 2 architecture, and that doesn't look to change any time soon. Is there room for another contender?
Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences' Institute of Computing Technology are talking about a new microprocessor they hope will make major headway in China by 2010. Backed by government funding, the chip was developed by more than 200 researchers.
"Twenty years ago in China, we didn't support R&D for microprocessors," said Zhiewi Xu, deputy director of ICT. "The decision makers and IT community have come to realize that CPUs are important."
China knows its getting a late start, but this isn't brand new territory for ICT. The group first began designing a single-core chip back in 2001, with Godson-1, China's first general purpose CPU, making a debut one year later. Now in its third iteration, engineers have added 200 additional instructions to Godson-3 to simulate a x86 chip, which will allow it to run more software than either of its predecessors.
It's worth noting that China's goal with the new processor isn't to take down Intel, a Herculean task by any stretch of the imagination. Instead, Tom Halfhill, an analyst at research firm In-Stat and Maximum PC magazine columnist, points out that "China wants to be independent. They don't want to be dependent on outside countries for critical technologies like microprocessors, which are, nowadays, a fundamental commodity."
On September 15th, Intel is expected to unveil its Xeon 7400 series Dunnington processor. What makes the server chip so special is it will be the first six-core processor, and likely the last Penryn to make a debut before the Nehalem microarchitecture takes over starting with the Core i7.
In another first, Dunnington will be the first Intel chip to sport a monolithic design, meaning all six cores will come on one slice of silicon. By contrast, the Core 2 Quad and four-core Xeon processors to date integrate two dual-core chips in a single package.
In addition to having six cores, the server market hopes to get big performance gains from the large 16MB of shared L3 cache. According to Intel senior vice president Pat Gelsinger, Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and Dell will have product announcements related to the Xeon 7400 series in September.
For the AMD faithful not quite ready to step up to quad-core processing, AMD this week will start adding to its triple-core lineup. The new processors are based on AMD's Toliman core.
Phenom X3 8750 (2.5GHz, 95W)
Phenom X3 8550 (2.2GHz, 95W)
Phenom X3 8450e (2.1GHz, 65W)
Note the 'e' designation in the last processor, which will represent AMD's new lower wattage CPUs. The X3 8450e will be the first 65W tri-core out of the gates, followed by the Phenom X3 8250e (1.9GHz, 65W).
Astute readers might also notice that the Phenom X3 8750 is incorrectly clocked at 2.5GHz instead of 2.4GHz. That's not a typo, and according to TomsHardware, AMD plans to bump up the clockspeed by 100MHz. Not only that, but THW says the flagship tri-core CPU will sport an unlocked multiplier. Oddly enough, the site also reports AMD will release a Phenom X3 8850 clocked at 2.5GHz this October, with an unlocked version to follow in December. Go figure.
With Nehalem Core i7 nearing release, that means you can expect to find good deals on what's soon to be last generation hardware. But if you're looking to jump onto the Core 2 bandwagon on the cheap, you needn't wait for Core i7. Intel has updated its processor pricing list and added a new Celeron D model.
Taking its place as the second least expensive quad-core processor in Intel's lineup is the 45nm Q8200 priced at $224 (only the Q6600 costs less). Two and a quarter C-notes buys you four 2.33GHz cores running on a 1333MHz frontside-bus, but only 4MB of L2 cache.
For those content with two cores, the 45nm E5200 priced at $84 is now the least expensive Core 2 Duo processor in Intel's lineup. The E5200 comes clocked at 2.5GHz on an 800MHz frontside-bus with 2MB L2 cache.
And finally, making its debut is the Celeron D 450. Priced at a low $53, the 65nm 450 runs at 2.2GHz on an 800MHz frontside-bus with 512K of L2 cache.
Intel fans be polite and stifle those snickers, but at the Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany, members of AwardFabrik.de managed to breach 4GHz on an AMD Phenom 9950 processor using liquid nitrogen cooling. Not without controversy, the feat failed to pass CPU-Z's validation.
Running at precisely 3952MHz, the team recorded a 19.954 second SuperPi 1M time, setting a new record for AMD processors. Other hardware used in the endeavor included a Foxconn A79-S motherboard and an OCZ 1KW power supply.
On a related side note, SuperPi may find itself being replaced as processor technology moves forward. While the world record for AMD CPUs now sits at just under 20 seconds, the record for an Intel processor is 7.14 seconds using an E8600 overclocked to 6376MHz, leaving little headroom for future record breaking attempts.
Some rumors just refuse to die, and one that refuses to stay buried is that Nvidia might be looking to enter the CPU market. On the surface, such a move would seem to make sense, as both AMD and Intel offer integrated CPU and GPU platforms. Speculation that Nvidia might develop a platform of its own has been particularly strong the past few months, and chairman Jen-Hsun Huang, a co-found of the company, only fueled the fire at his press conference on the opening day of NVISION, saying "we believe in x86...we believe in heterogeneous computing."
But while Huang has been hesitant to stomp on the rumor outright, Chris Malachowsky, another co-founder and senior vice president, went on the record with PC Pro as strongly denying the graphics chip maker would make such a move.
"That's not our business," Malachowsky said. "It's not our business to build a CPU. We're a visual computing company, and I think the reason we've survived the other 35 companies who were making graphics at the start is that we've stayed focused."
Malachowsky also pointed out Intel's marketshare dominance and financial strength in the CPU market as reasons why the Nvidia would be wise to steer clear.
Do you believe Malachowsky, or do you think the company will have a change of heart once Intel's Larrabee and AMD's Fusion start shipping?