AMD Flashes Dual-Core Microprocessors

Advanced Micro Devices Unveils 64-bit Roadmap

by Anton Shilov
06/14/2004 | 06:03 PM

Advanced Micro Devices today disclosed plans to produce dual-core microprocessors starting from mid-2005. The company said it had finalized the design of the new chips and will begin to tape-out the products shortly.


Today’s announcement does not bring anything new in terms of the company’s strategic plans, but indicates that AMD has completed the development of its 64-bit dual-core microprocessors and will initiate the pre-production of the more powerful AMD Opteron and AMD Athlon 64 processors one of these days.

Advanced Micro Devices Details its Dual-Core Plans

AMD decided to skip the in-depth technical details of its new chips at this time, though, what is clear is that the products will be initially intended for servers and high-end workstations eventually reaching desktops. The server Opteron and workstation/desktop chip Athlon 64 will differ in terms of cache size and support for dual-processor or multi-processor platforms.

The Sunnyvale, California-based chip designer believes that dual-core microprocessors will be extremely important in high-end segments of the market, but after all every market segment will gain dual-core CPUs.

“We see the immediate adoption to be in the server workstation market. We plan on having dual-core Opteron processors out in mid 2005 and high-end desktop Athlon 64 processors in late 2005,” AMD’s spokesman Phil Hughes said.

AMD dual-core die

“We cannot really comment on how long the transition will take but AMD has felt all along that dual-core is inevitable, which is why AMD64 architecture was built from the ground-up to be a natural extension of our Direct Connect Architecture,” Mr. Hughes explained.

As expected, AMD said its new central processing units with two processing engines will be compatible with current – Socket 940 and Socket 939 – infrastructures, and may also gain support for DDR2 memory.

Production Plans Include 90nm Technology, Fab 30

Representatives for Advanced Micro Devices said that the dual-core chips will be produced at the company’s Fab 30 in Dresden, Germany using 90nm Silicon-on-Insulator process technology.

Current plans include variety of dual-core microprocessor’s iterations: chips code-named Egypt, Italy and Denmark to power AMD Opteron 800-, 200- and 100-series respectively that will be available in “full-power” and “low-power” flavours. Processor code-named Toledo is a dual-core offering for desktop computers.

AMD's CPU roadmap. Please click to enlarge

Before switching to dual-core designs, AMD will qualify its manufacturing process with 90nm AMD Opteron products internally called Athens, Troy and Venus as well as desktop and mobile chips named Winchester and Oakville this year. Additionally, AMD will produce a high-end desktop processor code-named San Diego as well as plethora of mobile chips – Newark, Lancaster, Georgetown and Sonora using 90nm process technology in the first half of 2005.

AMD declined to comment on possible die size and its effect on yields and costs of the dual-core products.

Earlier this year Intel outlined plans to introduce dual-core processors next year, but remain tight-lipped about all the details concerning its roadmap.