History Repeating Itself . . .

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Well, the initial XT2900 was released, and it was generally condemned for generating more heat than firepower.

To be fair, this conclusion was based on cards using 80nm circuitry, a design that was abandoned by AMD because . . . it generated more heat than firepower. Successor cards based on the 65nm circuitry ought to reduce the heat and probably increase the firepower a bit.

But that was yesterday. It looks like yesterday may repeat itself tomorrow if this Digitimes article is right:

“AMD will release its Barcelona processors with clock speeds ranging from 1.9-2.6GHz. However, in the initial launch, the clock speed will top out at 2.3GHz, while the 2.6GHz version will appear in the updated version, pointed out the sources.”

Oh, my. No wonder why AMD doesn’t want anybody to see benchmarks at the moment. If they don’t think they can get past 2.3 at launch, any samples around now at most are running at 2.3GHz, if not less.

However, there is light at the end of this tunnel. We’ve heard stories about a new stepping being rather faster and less hot than its ancestor. Given the numbers being bandied about, the numbers on the old stuff must have been fairly slow and somewhat hotter than the new stuff. Given what AMD did with its 80nm R600s to get something out the door ASAP, it doesn’t take much imagination to see yesterday’s history repeating itself shortly, with the first Barcelonas being made under the “old” stepping, while the mass produced ones will be made later with the “new stepping.”

I’m sure AMD will try to get the best chip they can to any demonstration Computex machines early next month, and we’ll know how successful they were by how willing they are to have those machines tested. If they’re still playing duck and hide, odds are the machines are running the old stuff.



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