Another Lackluster Generation

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Per Digitimes:

AMD is planning to launch two 45nm Phenom X4 CPUs (Deneb) in 2008 with core frequencies of between 2.5-2.8GHz and 2.4-2.7GHz, with both adopting 6MB L3 Cache and having a TDP rating of 95W, according to sources at motherboard makers.

In other words, AMD will have two 45nm quadcores coming out around the end of the year (late November per the article if all goes “smoothly”). The two models will have speeds of 2.7/2.8GHz if AMD is lucky, and 2.4/2.5GHz if they’re not.

This is not surprising, but not good. They’ll be better than the current Phenoms, but I’ll bet any performance improvement will be mostly due to the increased cache. AMD desperately needs to reduce the size of these chips, so increasing the size of the cache must have been an absolute necessity for performance.

It makes you wonder how much less capable the L3-less Propus chips will be (though they’re obviously going to be the cheap OEM chip).

Unfortunately, long before they arrive, even if everything goes right, we’ll know what Nehalems will be able to do. We’ll probably get a good enough idea at Computex, we already know Intel had samples last month that could do 3.2GHz. I would bet again that Intel will actually increase the performance gap (at least with the integrated memory controller models).

I don’t know what to say. It’s not like AMD is fighting and losing, it’s more like they talk big, but then run away when it comes to trading punches with Intel. Sort of like this “battle”:

(Watch this pretending “Intel” is in the black trunks, “AMD” in the white. Also note the white trunk guy’s pre-game claims that he’s “faster” and what “faster” ends up meaning in the ring)

At what point does Intel start making fun of AMD like the guy in the black trunks did in the clip? At what point does any self-respecting hardware site allegedly interested in performance stop covering them? If AMD can’t make high-speed CPUs anymore, why treat them any differently than Matrox gets treated on a gamer site?

Of course, AMD’s ultimate goal is not to fight Intel, but make money. If they could manage to do that without fighting Intel, might not be good for us, but that’s what they need to do, and if they were doing that, I wouldn’t be saying squat about it.

Unfortunately for AMD, they don’t seem capable of making money unless/until they are strong enough to stand at least toe-to-toe with Intel.

And with this news, even if you’re very optimistic, the earliest opportunity for that won’t come for another eighteen months.

That means another eighteen months in the CPU bargain basement.

How long can this last?

Ed


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