Turion: A New Name For An Old Promise?

There was some hooping and hollering last week about this new AMD mobile processor line called “Turion.”

I fail to see what the fuss is all about, given what AMD has said in the past about it.

Yes, Virginia, AMD has talked about this in the past.

AMD’s Current Big Problem In The Mobile Market

AMD’s current problem in the mobile is quite literally . . . current. They chew up too much power compared to Intel’s Dothan chip to be taken seriously by those mobile users who really are mobile and don’t just migrate from one AC plug to another.

Most Mobile Athlon 64 processors are rated at 62 watts, compared to Dothan’s 21 watts. That makes a big difference when you’re running off a battery.

There’s a few low-voltage AMD CPUs that are rated at 35 watts, which is considerably better, but still chews up a good deal more power than a Dothan.

Over six months ago, AMD promised to have 35W and 25W Mobile Athlon 64s available starting in 1Q 2005.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that these must be 90nm descendants of current chips, and that this is what Turion must be.

P.S. Per this, the name “Turion” itself is supposed to evoke connotations with the word “tour.” Personally, it makes me think of “centurion” when I’m feeling kindly about the product and “turd” when I’m not.

AMD’s Wily Ways

I’m certainly not against AMD coming out with lower-powered Athlon 64s. Selfishly, if I decide to buy a notebook this year, that’s what I’ll certainly get unless Intel sticks x86-64 into its Dothans.

Less selfishly, since AMD’s idea of what makes a good mobile processor is to take the cream of the crop and make it a mobile (i.e. mobile Bartons), there’s likely to be some opportunities for overclockers, too.

Finally, AMD only has 9% of the current mobile market. They need to get back into the ballgame, and since Dothans are due to get a little faster (and power hungry), the power specs ought to do that.

But then, this isn’t really news. So why the hullaballoo?

Take a look at that 6 month old roadmap and compare it to the announcements. The roadmap says these CPUs were supposed to show up 1Q 2005. The recent AMD pronouncements say “mid-year.”

Can you say D-E-L-A-Y?

AMD is basically shielding what is actually an announcement of a delay by talking about a new killer product line (which in itself is just catchup).

This takes cojones, or perhaps, in AMDproductese, Ballions.

But so long as the media has the memory capacity of a goldfish, why not play these games?


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