AMD in 2006

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There seems to be some confusion as to what AMD plans to do next year.

This article does a good job summarizing what we know and adds a few extra tidbits which confirm some other earlier tidbits.

To summarize even more succinctly:

1) AMD will go to DDR2 next year, and come up with a new socket to accommodate it (that’s this 1207-pin socket M2 stuff). They obviously need a new socket with a few extra hundred pins to accommodate DDR2 (and perhaps the eventual quad-core).

2) This will be a “phased transition” (those were the words Hector Ruiz used in the last conference call) which will begin around the middle of the year and be pretty much finished by the end of the year.

3) While there will be some early 90nm M2 socket chips, socket M2 chips will show up around the same time the 65nm fab starts producing, so it’s pretty safe to say that most M2s will be 65nm.

4) AMD doesn’t plan to increase default speeds too much for 65nm chips, but then, neither does Intel, a ballpark figure for both looks to be about 15%-20%. Both companies are feeling pretty power-constrained these days and trying not to exceed current power requirements by too much.

5) It looks like the dual 754/939 socket arrangement will disappear, to be replaced by M2. What isn’t clear yet is whether AMD will have socket 1207 budget systems with single-channel RAM or whether everything will go dual. We would bet on the former.

DDR3

There’s been some speculation about AMD skipping DDR2 all together and going to DDR3.

This is doubtful because DDR3 isn’t due to be produced until around the time these socket M2 CPUs show up. DDR3 will probably be considerably more expensive than DDR2 for a year or more.

Perhaps more importantly for AMD, unlike Intel, a shift in memory type used also means a change in the CPU’s memory controller (which apparently makes it incompatible with earlier memory standards), so a shift take much more doing for AMD than it does for Intel, where such circuitry is strictly mobo-based.

Given all that, while such a jump cannot be completely precluded, don’t bet on it.

Ed

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