by Aleksey Razin
06/19/2007 | 12:18 PM
While everyone is impatiently waiting for the next generation AMD processors, some may have already forgotten that this June the company is going to launch 65nm version of their Athlon 64 X2 5200+ processors on Brisbane core that will hit 2.7GHz frequency. The closest 65nm dual-core AMD processor with similar features that is available at this time is working at 2.6GHz. It is Athlon 64 X2 5000+ with 64W maximum TDP. Pushing the clock speed 100MHz up is not a significant breakthrough progress, but for the Brisbane core that was accused of starting its career at a very low speed, it is nevertheless an important milestone. Note that a lot of Brisbane processors are now capable of overclocking to 2.8GHz with the nominal Vcore that is why it may strike you as a bit surprising that AMD has been holding off the launch of faster 65nm 64 X2 CPUs for a while.
June is almost over, but there is still only one Athlon 64 X2 5200+ (2.6GHz) processor model in AMD’s official price list on the 90nm core with 2 x 1MB L2 cache. All 65nm Brisbane processors are known to feature 2 x 512KB L2 cache that is why a CPU like that should work at 2.7GHz frequency to get rated as 5200+.
Yesterday we studied some of the official AMD’s documents where they mentioned two modifications of 65nm Athlon 64 X2 5200+ (2.7GHz) processors with the features as described in the table below:
Let’s take a look at the differences between the 65nm Athlon 64 X2 5200+ modifications. The major distinguishing feature is evidently the TDP. It is 65W for ADO5200IAA5DD and 76W for ADI5200IAA5DD. As a result the supported voltage ranges are also different: 1.3-1.35V and 1.325-1.375V respectively. The temperatures also range proportionally, just like the power consumption data in transitional states. Note that both processors are built on the same G1 core stepping.
The Vcore of the 65nm Athlon 64 X2 5200+ (2.7GHz) is higher on average than by the 90nm Athlon 64 X2 5200+ (2.6GHz): it equals 1.2-1.25V for F3 core stepping and 1.3-1.35V for F2 core stepping. Even 65nm Athlon 64 X2 5000+ (2.6GHz) and Athlon 64 X2 4800+ (2.5GHz) with close working frequencies feature slightly lower Vcore of 1.2-1.35V.
Why did Brisbane processor need their Vcore increased to hit 2.7GHz speed? Maybe they can only get the majority of existing CPUs with G1 core stepping to work stably at this frequency with a slightly raised core voltage. Or maybe the entire stack of energy efficient Brisbane processors is now being sold as Athlon 64 X2 BE-2xxx. This way only “hotter” units will be left for Athlon 64 X2 5200+ manufacturing. At least this can also explain where the 76W Brisbane model rated as 5200+ actually comes from.
By the way, the 65W Athlon 64 X2 5200+ based on 65nm Brisbane core has been sold in China since early June.
This particular sample was made on week 11 of 2007, i.e. in mid March. Has it been “aging” all this time stacked somewhere safe, or AMD was so carried away by the price war against Intel that they simply forgot about the K8 processor modifications?
This CPU is available in Chinese retail at $158 for an OEM unit and the official wholesale price is $178. Note that AMD is going to drop the Athlon 64 X2 prices on July 9 by about 20%. Athlon 64 X2 5200+ also has a strategic mission to carry on: it will be the top processor in the Athlon 64 X2 family by Q1 2008. Higher ranks will be taken by Phenom processors. Athlon X2 BE-2xxx processors will be priced lower, while the lowest ranks will be occupied by the dual-core Athlon X2 LS-2xxx (Rana) from K10 generation but without the L3 cache onboard.