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Advanced Micro Devices has always been very reluctant to change mainboards infrastructure for its processors, but the things may change when the company introduces its next-generation Socket M2 next year, two years after it brought Socket 939 out, according to the slides over the Internet that resemble AMD’s roadmap.

The Socket M2 is set to be introduced across the range of AMD desktop microprocessors, including performance, mainstream and value chips, in the first half of 2006. The chips that will be intended for the Socket M2 infrastructure are currently known under Windsor, Orleans and Manila code-names. Thermal and other specifications for the Socket M2 products are unknown, but it is known that all of such central processing units are to be produced using 90nm silicon-on-insulator fabrication process.

The Windsor is a high-end core for AMD that is likely to be used on premier AMD Athlon 64 FX and AMD Athlon 64 chips. The product will sport two processing engines, dual-channel DDR2 SDRAM controller, as well as security and virtualization capabilities code-named Presidio and Pacifica, respectively. The Orleans – a chip expected to power AMD’s mainstream Athlon 64 products – will also sport dual-channel DDR2 memory controller in addition to security and virtualization capabilities. The Manila is a future incarnation of AMD Sempron processor: it is unlikely to support advanced features like Presidio and Pacifica, but is claimed to have dual-channel DDR2 memory controller.

Clock-speeds, cache sizes and other peculiarities of the mentioned microprocessors are not known.

While some sources close to Sunnyvale, California-based Advanced Micro Devices said the company could implement dual-channel DDR2 memory support into existing 939-pin and 940-pin infrastructures, it is unclear whether advanced capabilities like Pacifica and Presidio could be put into current-generation form-factors.

It is currently unclear when exactly Advanced Micro Devices plans to introduce its processors made using 65nm process technology and 300mm wafers, a type of manufacturing that could decrease CPU-making costs for the chipmaker. While previously AMD said its Fab 36 would go online in 2006, current slides presumably from AMD’s roadmap till 2H 2006 available over the Internet do not list any 65nm products.

Rivals Intel Corp. as well as IBM plan to bring virtualization capabilities to desktop, workstation and server computers in 2005. Intel’s first 65nm products are projected to become available in the first quarter of 2006.

While the possible roadmap indicates certain goals AMD may want to achieve within certain timeframes, the company sometimes adjusts its plans in accordance with market conditions and economical feasibility of certain projects.

Officials for AMD usually do not comment on unannounced products.


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