K8 will not die: more to come in 2008

Written by Tim Smalley

December 5, 2007 // 5:11 p.m.

Tags: #64 #architecture #athlon #introduce #k8 #leaked #new #processors #release #roadmaps

Companies: #amd

According to leaked AMD roadmaps, the company is planning to introduce eleven new 65nm K8 processors in the first half of 2008. In comparison, the company will release just three more quad-core Phenom processors along with two tri-core Phenoms, on top of its two quad-core chips which were introduced last month, in the same timeframe.

Most of the new K8 processors will merely be 65nm ‘Brisbane’ variants of the remaining 90nm ‘Windsor’ processors that AMD still produces – in other words, they’re not entirely new models.

However, it’s worth noting that the ‘Brisbane’ core is not a 65nm equivalent of the ‘Windsor’ die, as the two have differing L2 cache sizes (2x512KB vs. 2x1MB). AMD will make up the deficit with a few frequency changes and there will also be some TDP variations as a result of the move to the more energy-efficient process.

The first processor to make the transition will be the Athlon 64 X2 5600+, which will have its clockspeed increased from 2.8GHz to 2.9GHz, while its TDP will be reduced from 89W to 65W. According to DailyTech, availability of this first 65nm transition is scheduled for Q1 2008.

This puts some, but not all, of our worries about AMD’s 65nm process to bed. It shows that AMD’s 65nm process is maturing, but is it maturing fast enough? After all, in order for AMD to compete with Intel at the high-end, it’s going to need a quad-core chip that runs at at least 3.0GHz.

DailyTech says that AMD will also discontinue the Athlon 64 X2 6000+ and Athlon 64 X2 6400+ processors. This concerns us a little and suggests that the process still has a ways to go to reach the frequencies required to compete with Intel at the high-end.

The report also says that AMD will also release three new ‘Energy Efficient’ processors in Q2 2008. These will be known as the Athlon 4850e, Athlon 4450e and Athlon 4050e, which will run at 2.5GHz, 2.3GHz and 2.1GHz respectively. All of the chips are based on the 'Brisbane' core and will feature 45W TDPs.

This comes as a surprise to us, because AMD CEO Hector Ruiz said at a conference in Bangalore that the company’s number one short term goal was to return to profitability soon – apparently this means refocusing some of its efforts on the older K8 architecture is the way to return to profitability. Let us know your thoughts on AMD’s move in the forums.
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