Getting Hammered

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October 15 is the key date for finding out

Intel’s grabbed the spotlight the last few days, and AMD, at least officially, has been quite quiet

Here and there, though, there’s been mumblings AMD’s 64/32 bit chip; the Hammer series, may show up sooner than expected. Some are saying a lot sooner.

Hammer’s been on the back burner lately for a simple reason; AMD put them there by pushing them back on the roadmap, and not all that long ago.

Roadmaps aren’t just for people like us, matter of fact, they really aren’t meant for us at all. They’re really meant more as a blueprint for those who have to build the infrastructure around the CPU.

If you have to come up with a new motherboard for Hammer, while you won’t be happy if it gets pushed back, you’ll really go nuts if it gets pushed forward six months.

Sure, Intel moves up product deadlines on CPUs once in a while, but usually, that doesn’t require much of an infrastructure change. A BIOS revision is hardly in the same league as a new mobo.

Hammer is going to require a lot of new infrastructure support. Like Rome, it won’t get built in a day.

I don’t doubt there may be a few samples Hammers floating around (though I suspect they may be more like chisels). After all, motherboard manufacturers can just go so far with emulators.

What I do doubt is that these guys are close to finished, or can even see light at the end of the tunnel.

Most importantly is that I do know just when we’re likely to get some real idea as to when we might see this.

On October 15, AMD is supposed to give a detailed presentation on Hammer at the Microprocessor Forum sponsored every year by MicroDesigns Research. A few years back, AMD used this
forum to unveil the technical details behind what was then called the K7. The presentation at that time also indicated when AMD would launch the chip (AMD said 1H 1999, and they did so at the end of June 1999 (though it took a while longer to actually deliver).

If I had to bet right now, I would bet we’re going to see a repeat of what happened with the K7. We’ll get the technical details in October, and see the chip sometime next summer. As a bonus, we may also get a better idea of when Thoroughbred is coming out at that time.

No matter what AMD has in mind, though, we will find out for reasonably sure in October, and that’s good enough for planning purposes.

Palomino will debut a week before this conference. If people are debating between Palomino and Hammer/Thoroughbred, waiting a week will be no hardship. Just pull the plug on your computer around October 7 and don’t plug it back in for ten days. 🙂

Northwood probably won’t be out until November. Again, we should have a good idea about AMD’s plans before anybody is in the position to buy one (not that there’s going to be a huge rush by our readers to buy one at $600, anyway).

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