Cooling and Duplicating the CPU
Besides launching its new tech process, AMD has other things to work upon. For example, they are developing a new HyperTransport to PCI Express 16x bridge (or “tunnel” as AMD terms it). This shouldn’t take much effort as the two busses are very similar between themselves. They will only have to use a newer version of HyperTransport (2.0) so that the bus could pump 8GB/s of the graphical bandwidth. On the other hand, first systems will only support a PCI Express 16x port working in the half-duplex mode, and the transition to a new version of the HyperTransport is not vitally important as the overclocked HyperTransport fully corresponds to the new graphics port in bandwidth. They will also have to develop a new South Bridge to replace the out-dated AMD8111 – they must provide all must-haves like Gigabit Ethernet, SerialATA, PCI Express 1x. Otherwise, Athlon 64 systems will lose the battle due to the lack of new technologies. It’s possible, though, that AMD relies on third parties, VIA Technologies, NVIDIA and SiS, in this matter. I suppose that they need an escape way, though.
Besides the above-mentioned things, AMD has one more enticing feature – the Cool’n’Quiet technology. Its key point is in reduction of the processor frequency and power consumption when the CPU workload is below 80%. The rotational speed of the CPU cooler is reduced too. If the workload remains low, the frequency can be dropped down further. The minimum frequency for this technology is 800MHz (1000MHz for new processor revisions and Socket 939 systems). We should acknowledge that the Athlon 64 provides enough performance even at 1GHz to handle a majority of office and home chars. If the computer lacks performance, Cool’n’Quiet automatically unfolds the clock rate to the nominal value.
You may notice that Cool’n’Quiet is not very sophisticated technologically (in fact, it is the power saving technology for notebooks adapted and applied to desktop computers), but has a strong appeal to the end-user. The modern top-end computer system has become quite uncomfortable to work with: noise and heat don’t tell positively on the ergonomics of your workplace. Many manufacturers have started to stress the low noise generation of their systems. For example, this trend has brought some popularity to the Eden platform from VIA Technologies, which generates little heat and noise, although can’t boast a high performance. The marketing department of AMD felt this tendency and the users’ needs were met in the Cool’n’Quiet technology.
As a result, your computer works much more intelligently: it gives you its utmost calculating power only when required. Otherwise, it saves your ears and wallet, producing less noise and consuming less power. That’s absolutely good, since this technology doesn’t seem to have any disadvantages.
Modern Socket 754 platforms already support Cool’n’Quiet. Moreover, mainboards without it won’t be accepted by AMD for testing. Thus, a majority of Athlon 64 systems will surely be Cool’n’Quiet.