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AMD Gets New Contingency Foundry

Beginning in 2006, a foundry called Chartered Semiconductor will be able to make Hammers under license from AMD.

That’s nice, but a couple years ago, AMD entered into a similiar arrangement with UMC, which never actually happened. Perhaps more to the point, unless yields are unfixably bad, AMD needs to make and sell four to five times the number of Hammers it is selling now before they’re going to need any more capacity.

That may be easier said than done. Even if making them is no problem, what they can sell them for is a separate issue entirely.

How Big A Price Cut?

A little birdie told me that the “unofficial” AMD price cut that is supposed to go into effect this week will be up to 30%.

Now don’t get too excited about this yet; that 30% might well be on an FX-55.

Nonetheless, the need AMD apparently has for a price cut, especially since they just had one, makes one wonder either a) how poorly the lower-end Hammers are selling or b) whether AMD knows something about a surprise Intel price cut in a few weeks that we don’t.

Dothan Motherboards Begin To Arrive

GamePC has a review of one of the first desktop Dothan motherboards. This is good news, especially for those who need a fast but quiet machine.

It also mentioned how much the board tested was going to cost: $275. This is not so good.

GamePC says that Intel ought not keep Dothan under wraps until it figures out what to do in 2006 or whenever, and should try to provide a high-(or at least higher) performance desktop platform for it than the 855.

This would be wise, if for no other reason than to keep usual Intel fans an option to consider other than AMD, but I suspect the internal turf wars at Intel will prevent that from happening.

The mainstream desktop people who brought you Prescott cannot be happy with the ways things are going. The (self-perceived) Masters of the Universe not only broke the product line, now they have engineers and architects for some stupid notebook chip which is largely a tweak of a design they abandoned telling them what to do.

Must be a lot of hurt pride there.

Having this stupid notebook chip showing up on their sacred desktop turf would really be rubbing it in. So, irrational as it is, there’s probably plenty of internal resistance to making Dothan a substitute to Prescott.

It’s a shame.

ATI Threatens Us With SLI, Too

Buried at the end of this review is this comment:

“It is also worth noting that ATI specified that the x16 PCIe graphics slot can be programmed “to drive two devices”. ATI shared plans to market their own SLI solution that they expect to launch in early 2005, so SLI will also likely be a choice with ATI in the near future.”

Just another reason for some to dawdle until early 2005 before moving to a Hammer platform.

What ought to be noted is that we don’t know how well all this SLI equipment is supposed to play together. Will ATI SLI cards work fine in nForce4 boards? Will nVidia SLI cards be OK in these new ATI boards? Will Via boards go both ways?

Or will ATI/nVidia mobos offer “enhancements” that make “their” video cards work better?

We don’t know, and as we say all the time, when you don’t know, wait.


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