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Advanced Micro Devices disclosed its updated roadmap at its Annual Financial Analyst Day. The main change in the perspective plan of the world’s second largest processor maker is postponement of the products made using 90nm technology process as well as uncovered code-names and some brief details about its future chips due to come in 2004 and 2005.

Slow Desktop Plans in 1H 2004

Since the push of the 90nm products into the second half of the year, we will not see a lot of new technology coming from Sunnyvale in the first half of 2004. Probably we should expect introduction of speed bumps for the AMD Opteron, AMD Athlon 64 FX as well as AMD Athlon 64 processors, though, nobody has confirmed this officially so far. As reported yesterday, the company will unveil its Athlon 64 “Newcastle” processor in Socket 754 packaging made using 0.13 micron SOI fabrication process presumably with 512KB of L2 and 64-bit extensions to offer affordable 64-bit CPU.

AMD’s positions during the 1H 2004 will be relatively strong, given that Intel launches its LGA775 platform only in late second quarter, while the Intel Pentium 4 processor with SSE3 technology at 3.80GHz is coming out only in the third quarter, according to the most-recent Intel’s plans. The Sunnyvale, California-based firm may find itself under heavy attack from Intel sometime in mid-Q3, when its main rival is projected to be ramping up its Prescott, Grantsdale, Alderwood and PCI Express technologies.

As you see, we should not expect much from the first half of the year, nevertheless, I bet it should be a slow, but interesting one. I am extremely curious about AMD’s ability to push up the speeds of its 64-bit 0.13 micron parts.

Please click to enlarge

Conservative Mobile Intentions

AMD is set to release its Mobile Athlon 64 processor manufactured using the identical 0.13 micron Silicon-on-Insulator technology in the first half of 2004, probably sometime at a mid-point, to replace its current DTR Athlon 64 chip.

The 0.13 micron Mobile Athlon 64 processor will exist for only a number of months and will be replaced by a 90nm SOI chip called “Odessa” in the second half of the year. The latter will also live on for less than six months, as already in the first half of 2005, “Oakville” 90nm processor will be there to serve the same performance-mobile segment.

Yet another 0.13 micron core code-named “Dublin will substitute the conventional Athlon XP-M chips in 2H 2004, roadmap reports. This Socket 754 processor with no support for 64-bit instructions will not be gone until the second half of 2005, when AMD issues its “Trinidad” CPU created using 90nm SOI.

Even though AMD’s mobile plans are rather conservative, AMD may eventually offer a rather successful lineup of mobile processors to address top-to-bottom market segments, supporting either 32-bit only or 64-bit extensions as well. The chips will be technically the same and the only difference between them will be in higher or lower power consumption and performance. The same strategy is deployed now.

AMD does not seem to have plans for specially designed chips for mobile applications, such as Intel’s Pentium M, next year.

Uncertain 2H 2004 Prospects

The second half of 2004 will be full of exciting announcements and beginning of AMD’s 90nm SOI ramp.

For the enterprise market AMD plans to introduce code-named Athens, Troy and Venus chips for 4/8-way, 2-way and 1-way servers or workstations respectively. The company will provide both Full and Low Power processors for those segments, according to the roadmap showcased today. All these CPUs will be made using 90nm SOI process.

The Athlon 64 FX “San Diego” microprocessor will not only succeed the current AMD Athlon 64 FX “ClawHammer” chip addressing the high-end market only, but will also cover a part of performance-mainstream segment with more affordable offerings. The Athlon 64 “Winchester” rumoured to incorporate 512KB of L2, also made at 90nm node, is expected to debut in the H2 too. It will generally serve the mainstream market segment, as we may realize from its position in the roadmap.

The Athlon XP “Paris” processor in Socket 754 packaging with 256KB of L2 projected to emerge in mid-2004, according to some sources. AMD cancelled Victoria project – 90nm version of the Paris die, therefore, the next low-cost chip after Paris will emerge only in 2005. The company will also offer Athlon XP-M “Dublin” chip with the same specs for mobile market. The microprocessor will inherit architectural innovations of K8 family, but will not support 64-bit computing.

In case AMD releases its 90nm chips in early second half of next year, it has enough chances to maintain its performance lead thanks to higher core-frequencies as a result of thinner manufacturing technology.

Provided that AMD launches its 90nm chips commercially only in the late second half of 2004, the company may loose performance lead in desktop market, as 0.13 micron process and K8 architecture may not provide enough core-clock flexibility for AMD and the company will be unarmed against Intel’s main weapon – the frequency of LGA775 Prescott CPUs.

Year 2005 on Horizon

Surprisingly, the Sunnyvale, California-based CPU company also revealed its long-term plans until the second half of 2005. As noted above, the Oakville processor will continue the path of Odessa from the first half of the year. Other CPUs to be introduced in 2005 are all due in the 2H.

According to the roadmap, “Egypt”, “Italy” and “Denmark” microprocessors will replace Athens, Troy and Venus chips in appropriate market segments. The code-named Toledo chip will replace the San Diego; Palermo will take it away from Paris, consequently, the Dublin will be replaced by Trinidad.

Earlier this year AMD discussed details of its dual-core Opteron CPUs and made it clear about manufacturing technology of the parts – 90nm SOI process. The officials did not specify the timeframes for the release, but it is surely either late 2005 or early 2006.

All 2005 chips will be made using 90nm SOI fabrication technology.


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