Why this will be important for some in the future. — Ed
The flavors of Hammer seem to have differing performance (in addition to configuration) capabilities and some of those differences could have major impact on its competitiveness against the PIV desktop platforms Intel will have out.
In short, the common wisdom has been that Hammer is going to be some Intel-killer, but the details we have so far along with Intel developments cast at least some doubt on this.
A Little More On Dual DDR
Simply, Intel is going to dual DDR because that’s the only practical means of obtaining a ton of memory bandwidth for the next couple years. If your applications or games benefit from memory bandwidth, this is something that should interest you.
How much effect will it have? That remains to be seen, but we know the PIV is a bit starved with a single DDR solution at high speeds.
A few of you have pointed out “Dual DDR is no big deal, look at the nForce board.” The nForce board is not a dual channel DDR system dedicated to the CPU; much of its bandwidth is meant to feed the integrated video.
A true dual channel DDR system could boost performance on memory-sensitive applications by 15-20% over a single channel DDR system. That’s significant, and would look to be the rough equivalent of what this integrated memory controller on the Hammer is supposed to do.
On the AMD side, as of the moment, it looks like the Hammer Athlon won’t have this.
We’ll probably get a decent enough idea how much of a boost dual DDR will give to Northwoods to expect from them when we see 133Mhz PIV systems equipped with RDRAM PC1066 in the next couple months. That’s the theoretical equivalent of a dual PC2100 DDR system.
It’s been reported and no doubt is true that Intel at the least is very reluctant to adopt x86-64 for fear of aborting their much more expensive (and much more profitable) future 64-bit processors like McKinley
Let us hope AMD hasn’t fallen into the same sort of trap by cutting Hammer Athlon down in the (probably vain) hope of maximizing Opteron sales.