Revamped AMD Athlon 64 Chips to Debut at Computex

Socket 939 Platform to Launch in Days

by Anton Shilov
05/30/2004 | 09:53 AM

As previously reported, Advanced Micro Devices is likely to roll-out its new 64-bit microprocessors with more efficient design and higher performance at Computex 2004 show in Taipei, Taiwan.


Three New Chips Coming

According to various sources around the world wide web, there will be a number of new SKUs in AMD’s product lineup starting from the 1st of June, 2004: AMD Athlon 64 3500+, AMD Athlon 64 3800+ and AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 for Socket 939.

AMD Athlon 64 processors with 939 pins will integrate 512KB of L2, only a half of the size incorporated into today’s 754-pin chips, but will benefit from very efficient dual-channel memory controller that is likely to decrease the impact of cut-down cache and even improve performance of 939-pin chips over 754-pin processors with 1MB on-die secondary-level cache, which is why CPUs in different types of packaging will not have similar model numbers at equal clock-speeds. The AMD Athlon 64 FX parts will continue to have 1MB of L2 after the transition to Socket 939.

One of the other advantages AMD64 processors in PGA939 packaging are expected to provide is faster 1000MHz HyperTransport bus that connects central processing units to other parts of the system. Current AMD Athlon 64 chips use 800MHz HT bus.

Leading retailers are about to begin sales of AMD Athlon 64 microprocessors in PGA939 form-factor. ASUSTeK Computer will be one of the first suppliers of mainboards with Socket 939. Other leading mainboard makers are also likely to showcase their offerings at the show in Taipei, Taiwan.

Not Enough Microprocessors for Everyone?

Currently there is no precise information about volumes AMD is planning to supply its new chips this year, as initially the number of new processors on the market is not large. Some sources familiar with AMD’s plans estimate that there are going to be only a little bit more than 50 thousand of 939-pin AMD Athlon 64 and AMD Athlon 64 FX processors available in the second quarter of the year, amid 700 thousand of units in PGA754 packaging shipping during the same quarter.

The situation with availability of new microprocessors in 939-pin packaging is going to improve in the third quarter of the year when AMD is hinted to supply roughly 260 thousand of such chips. At the same time, the Sunnyvale, California-based microprocessor maker is expected continue ramping up production of AMD Athlon 64 in 754-pin packaging to 970 thousand of units. In the fourth quarter of the year the company is projected to ship 540 thousand and 900 thousand of AMD64 central processors for Socket 939 and Socket 754 platforms respectively.

According to existing estimates, only in the Q1 2005 the output of more advanced Athlon 64 processors will tangibly outstrip that of the AMD Athlon 64 chips with single-channel memory controller. Sources suggest 1.20 million of PGA939 and 250 thousand PGA754 processors from AMD to ship during the mentioned timeframe.

Predictions of sources close to the company contributing their details for the story are significantly lower than anticipations of AMD in terms of AMD64 product shipments. The world’s No.2 microprocessor designer said it would deliver 1 million of 64-bit processors already in Q1 2004, while the source suggested that there would be only 755 thousand of desktop AMD64 chips available in Q2 2004.

Advanced Micro Devices said its first commercial 90nm microprocessors will show up in “Septermber-October-November” timeframe. The majority of desktop AMD64 processors at 90nm nodes are projected to have dual-channel memory controller.

Officials for AMD did not comment on the story.