How Many, When, and What?

The Inquirer has some revised figures on expected desktop Hammer production.

Keep in mind when you view these figures that AMD’s quarterly production of CPUs over the past few years has been in the range of 6,000,000-8,000,000 CPUs a year.

Quarter ending Septemeber 30:

Socket 940
Socket 754

Negligible, but a couple weeks is hardly a fair indicator, so we’ll ignore it. Let’s see Christmas quarter, period ending December 31:

Socket 940
Socket 754

Still fairly minimal (and the Inquirer article says these numbers may be a bit too high):

Moving on, first quarter of 2004:

Socket 940
Socket 939
Socket 754

This is the first real quarter of sizable production.

Finally (and this is new information), the second quarter of 2004:

Socket 940
Socket 939
Socket 754

The chip suddenly crosses over into mainstream status.

So for the quarters that count, the ramp-up is (let’s assume a total CPU base of 7,000,000, since PC sales have been perking up a bit lately) :

4Q 2003
1Q 2004
Socket 754

These numbers are actually not too far out of wack from a normal CPU rollout (which is usually around 10%-25%-50%), though it’s rather heavily loaded towards the back end.

What else does it tell us?

1) Socket 940 is a negligible factor soon to be tossed, and the Opteron That Isn’t An Opteron will go back to being the Opteron That Is Back To Being An Opteron again.

It should be ignored.

2) AMD plans on a two-tier Hammer system, with socket 754 occupying the Duron slot. Well, maybe. There will be at least two types of socket 754, and maybe three. The 1Mb is already here. The 256K probably will show up next year. A 512K version may pop up in the middle of all this.

In short, more confusion.

3) The relatively small proportion of socket 939 systems compared to socket 754 systems (the proportion of Athlons/Durons were more like 50/50) seems to indicate that socket 939 will continue to command a premium price.

4) The numbers indicate that AMD expects people to start seriously buying some form of Hammer in the second quarter of 2004.

What doesn’t it tell us?

1) It doesn’t tell us what kind of processors will be made in the first quarter of 2004. Will they all be 130nm, or will some be 90nm? We think the 90nm processors ought to be a far better item to purchase.

2) What kind of socket 939 motherboards will be out there starting in that first quarter? Will they be AGP/DDR boards, or will they be PCI Express/DDR2 boards? If the first, when will the second type show up?

3) Even more to the point, at what point will Hammers incorporate a DDR2 memory interface?

The last may seem to you to be an extremely esoteric point, but it’s actually critical to anybody looking to possibly buy a system sooner or later, then plan to incrementally upgrade their computer system (like most in this audience).

Memory Controller Compatibility: A New Issue…


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