Here’s why we think Thorton exists:
AMD has just one fab. AMD needs to convert some of it to Athlon64 production and/or 90nm production. So they pull some TBred capacity offline (Barton will be around longer), but there’s still some demand for low-end TBreds, especially from OEMs.
Under those circumstances, circumcizing some Bartons for a while (and if you can also sell some Bartons that have a half-faulty cache, so much the better) is the least bad option.
Per the faulty chips, AMD acknowledged this at a recent LAN convention:
“This is a move AMD made to simplify their product line, streamline their manufacturing, and allow them to increase total processor yield.”
The comment about increasing processor yield makes no sense unless they’re tossing a few “bad” ones in. Not that it matters, it makes no difference if that 256K cache is perfect dead or faulty dead, they’re both still dead.
In most cases though, it will be a matter of circumcision.
“In doing this the company is doing something similar to what Intel did with the Celeron back when Celeron’s were P3’s that simply had part of their L2 cache disabled.”
The article goes on to say that these aren’t meant for the retail market. This doesn’t mean we won’t see them on Pricewatch, just that we’ll probably not see a lot of them.
So this isn’t something you should seek or avoid.