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A First Look at AMD's M2 Platform 145

Knight Thrasher writes to tell us that Tom's Hardware has an interesting first look at AMD's AM2 platform. From the article: "While Intel will be answering later this year with its Merom/Conroe processors, AMD officially says that the introduction of its AM2 platform and DDR2 memory support in the second quarter of this year will be able to maintain its current lead. Unofficially, we know that AMD will launch six dual-core and two single-core AM2 processors on June 6 - later than initially expected but well in time for Intel's Conroe, which will be introduced in September. Tom's Hardware got its hands on a stable engineering sample of an Athlon 64 X2 4800+ for Socket AM2 and will publish benchmark results as first as a first impression of the new Socket and processors tomorrow."
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A First Look at AMD's M2 Platform

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  • Ahhh yes (Score:5, Funny)

    by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:39PM (#14765193) Journal
    and will publish benchmark results as first as a first impression of the new Socket and processors tomorrow.

    Nice to see the Editors are living up to their name.

    • Re:Ahhh yes (Score:3, Informative)

      by Gogo Dodo ( 129808 )
      Well... I'll give the /. editors a break here because the linked article says exactly what the quoted text says. So one could blame the editors over at Tom's Hardware.
    • Nice to see the Editors are living up to their name.

      I think you mean the 'Editros.' Yeesh, get it right. ("Don't call me 'Yeesh.'")

      I'm more interested in announcements from PMA, anyway.
  • Article Vaporware (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ortcutt ( 711694 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:40PM (#14765194)
    So, Slashdot is now referring to articles which will be up tomorrow?
  • 1) Publish story about fancypants new platform being delivered to reviewers
    2) Reveal that the benchmarks won't be available until later
    3)
    4)
    5)
    6)
    7) Dupe!

    (Actually 4-6 are also duplicates)
  • Are the boards the proc sit in designed to dump BIOS yet? Or are we still stuck?
    • "Are the boards the proc sit in designed to dump BIOS yet? Or are we still stuck?"

      UEFI 2.0 isn't fully baked yet, but it will be soon. EFI 1.10 is an 'Intel' spec, and besides, it won't do 64-bit extensions. Moral, the suk.

      Look for there to be UEFI 2.0 boards later this year, most likely at the Vista launch, but not before.

                        -Charlie
    • Why do you need to dump the Bios? EFI was designed for a non x86 chip where the Bios was unusable. x86-64 starts up in 16 bit mode, so it can still boot via INT 13, which currently supports 64 bit LBAs (sector numbers). That's enough to support harddrives for the next twenty years or so [md4pc.com]. ACPI can pass information about any hardware to the OS. It has support for 64 bit addresses, too. In fact, it's what EFI uses for plug'n'play information. Modern OSs don't use the Bios post boot anyway. Even the switch from
  • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:48PM (#14765241) Homepage
    That's nice, good for AMD. But where are the FB-DIMMs? I like that AMD moved the memory interface onto the processor die and I think it was a great step (Intel is supposed to do this in a few years) but the fact they had to change sockets for DDR2 really bugs me. I understand why, but still.

    FB-DIMMs should be available by now. If I would go out and buy a socket M2 processor, I'd have to buy a new socket and processor when FB-DIMMs came out (or the switch to DDR3 or whatever). If we had FB-DIMMs then one processor would work with DDR/DDR2/DDR3/SD/whatever just by switching out the memory since the interface is serial and built onto the memory chips. It would allow the life of boards to be extended much longer. Look how long PCI lasted. If you bought a new motherboard in the PCI era and you could keep using it all the way up to now because the socket stayed the same and the memory modules just changed (even though the physical pin out stayed the same) you could do it. Now that PCI-Express is here, we could do that easily for the future.

    FB-DIMM is supposed to simplify the board layout too since you don't have to run all those parallel data/address lines to each DIMM. This is supposed to make layout much less complicated. Imagine how many pins would be needed on an Opteron if they wanted to put 4 memory banks on the processor instead of the 2 they have now. That would be a few hundred extra pins. With FB-DIMM that might be one hundred extra pins.

    The only need to update the socket would be to provide additional power pins (you could future proof this a bit by putting extra power pins on) or other features (I've heard of someone, Sun perhaps, trying to put Ethernet on the processor die).

    I like AMD, but isn't it time we get past these custom memory interfaces for each standard?

    • I've heard that FB-DIMMs run hot and need to be actively cooled. This is not something you want on desktops. I believe Socket F will be supporting FB-DIMMS though, at some point.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You won't be getting FB-DIMM support with the M2 socket, it's for their consumer level/low-end workstation (single CPU Opteron) segment.

      Socket F/1207 for their server chips is rumored to support FB-DIMMs as well as some other neat-o stuff.
    • by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @12:38AM (#14765442) Homepage
      While definately worth considering, I'd imagine DDR2 will have enough life in it - at least on the desktop segment - for this to not really be a huge issue. While the idea of needing to buy a new motherboard every time is a bit irritating, you'd have to anyways, unless you have crazy soldering skills. Couple that with the fact that by the time you're ready for a memory type upgrade that once-brand-new processor is probably quite out of date, it's not a huge issue. I recently picked up a two gig kit knowing full well that DDR2 for AMD was on the horizon, and I'm not all that bothered. Chances are I'll bump it up to four at some point next year, and hold off on a new processor (and thus new memory) until quad-core chips are available. I figure that an overclocked dual core chip should hold me over for at least the next year, and I'm not too worried about graphics upgrades as I think PCI-E is going to be around for just as long as PCI, if not longer (thanks to it's future-resistant nature; just add more lanes and you have more bandwidth). In fact I heard rumors a while back that AMD might try to incoprorate a PCI Express controller onto the die as well (leaving basically... what... ethernet and storage interfaces on the chipset?), but seeing that PCIE gains more bandwidth by adding lanes rather than being clocked higher, it seems like it's just moving costs around. While it would probably help consumers in the long run, it's irrelavent to this; point being that moving the memory controller from the northbridge to the processor die actualy increases the speed at which it communicates with the rest of the system. In fact, I'd wager that architectural difference between a P4 and A64 is making the largest difference in terms of overall performance.

      Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of using FB-DIMMs since it would just mean changing out the motherboard and not also the processor, but with the relation between processor and memory interface, I don't see it as being a big issue. Especially considering the fact that DDR2 is available and about equivalent to DDR in prices (about $150 for a 2x1GB DDR400 or DDR2-533 matched pair, as of two seconds ago at Newegg), whereas FB-DIMMs are unavailable right now and will probably start off pretty expensive compared to what's out.

    • Yes, with FB you can put all your DIMMs on a single set of signal lines. But you can without FB, too (within capacitance limits). The reason you don't in either case, is regardless of FB or no, if you have more parallel lines, you can transmit more data at once.

      If you put more memory on one set of signal lines, you can reduce latency, but you cannot increase bandwidth.
      • by Wesley Felter ( 138342 ) <wesley@felter.org> on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @01:28AM (#14765585) Homepage
        You're overlooking the frequency difference; because FBD is point-to-point, it can run at 5GHz or more, compared to a mere 800MHz for DDR2. Thus with an equal number of pins, FBD gives much more bandwidth.

        Yes, with FB you can put all your DIMMs on a single set of signal lines.

        That's not how it is used, so I'm not sure why you are emphasizing that. IIRC, Blackford systems have 4 FBD channels (using fewer pins than two DDR2 channels).
        • by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:42AM (#14765835)
          I thought FB-DIMMs were merely buffered (as the name implies).

          Nope, they're not. They're arranged in a big serial shift register.

          The problem with this? Latency goes up as you put in more DIMMs. Why? Because data from the 4th DIMM has to pass through (not just by) the 3rd DIMM, 2nd DIMM and 1st DIMM to get to the CPU.

          Sound familiar? It's just a retread of RDRAM.

          No thanks. Intel boned themselves with this before. If they want to push this, they better get ready to take a backseat to AMD again. DDR outdistanced RDRAM handily on performance and price/performance, I'll be surprised if things are any different this time.

          I hope you enjoy your higher clock speeds, you'll need them to try to get your latency down to managable and your bandwidth up to normal. I mean, with 1/4 as many data pins (I assume the 28 data pins carry only 16 bits of data at once, vs 64 of DDR/DDR2), you're going to have to go 4X as fast just to match the bandwidth and latency of a regular system. And as soon as that 2nd DIMM is put in, you're behind on latency and you're going to have to play catch up.
          • Just a side note... the price issues with RDRAM were (admitted in court) a result of a DRAM consortium using monopolistic tactics to undercut RDRAM and keep the prices high.

            The problem with this? Latency goes up as you put in more DIMMs. Why? Because data from the 4th DIMM has to pass through (not just by) the 3rd DIMM, 2nd DIMM and 1st DIMM to get to the CPU.

            This sounds contrary to "point-to-point" as mentioned at Micron [micron.com]. What you describe is that the FB-DIMMs are in serial. The data is transmitted seria
            • by YesIAmAScript ( 886271 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:53PM (#14769829)
              See link:

              http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=15189 [theinquirer.net]

              What happens is on each clock, the 1st DIMM transfers its data to the CPU. The 2nd DIMM (if there) transfers its data to the 1st DIMM, the 3rd DIMM (if there) transfers its data to the 2nd DIMM, etc. Thus each DIMM gets the data from the next DIMM, puts it in a buffer, thus regenerating the signal electrically and emits it upstream on the next clock. You could call this "daisy chained". This limits how far each DIMM has to drive its data, which is why FB-DIMMs can claim better electrical characteristics.

              What this means is to get data from the 3rd DIMM, it takes 3 clocks just to get the first bit of data (presumably 16 bits) to the CPU. The "good" news is that since this system is (semi-) serial, the clock has to be very high already, so this latency is somewhat mitigated.

              FB-DIMMs are point to point, but the point-to-point doesn't mean each DIMM connects to the memory controller, it simply means each DIMM is only on a bus with one other DIMM (well, one upstream bus and one downstream bus). Each DIMM forwards data along these busses in both directions. But again, there is no way for the 3rd DIMM to get to the memory controller without going through (and not just by) the 2nd and 1st DIMM first.

              Your extension of my argument to PATA vs SATA just underscores your misunderstanding. My concern is with the latency of intermediate forwarding of data. SATA (well, the version in regular use) doesn't even allow you to attach multiple devices to a single bus, let alone have the devices forward the data to the head. Note that PATA allows multiple devices per bus, but it is a true bus, in that the data from the far device just goes by the near device, not into it and back out.

              SATA is taking off due to connector costs and cable routing in the case. RAM doesn't face cable routing difficulties. It does face signal routing difficulties, but these only need to be solved once per motherboard design at worst, not once per installation as in cable routing. In addition, the signal routing complexity is much higher for ultra-high speed busses and thus the problem of signal routing will be solved the same way for FB-DIMMs as for DDR or DDR2, which is one company (Intel) will make a reference design and the other motherboard designers will just leave those signal lines alone and add other signals in the I/O area where they want to put on additional SATA RAID controllers. And in regards to connector costs, FB-DIMMs don't change the DIMM connector and thus don't reduce the cost of the DIMM connector. So I don't see a parallel here at all.

              Finally, as to DIMMs and busses being forward compatible forever, it's just not going to happen. You'll have the same problem you did with SDRAM (or DDR or RDRAM). All SDRAM was compatible with each other, just the speeds changed. So you can use your old slow DIMMs as long as you don't mind that slowing down all your memory accesses.

              Finally, the reason RDRAM failed isn't as simple as your comments that the RAM people screwed RAMBUS. The problem was the RAM people didn't feel like being screwed by RAMBUS. RAMBUS wanted license fees on all RAM made (see their grab at applying their patents to DDR) and so they tried to make RDRAM the standard. Intel also wanted more money per motherboard sold (not just happy selling the CPU). Intel's first attempt at making this happen was Slot 1, where they force-bundled the 2nd level cache memory in with the CPU (2nd level cache SRAM revenue could be $30-$50 per mobo back in the Socket 7 days). Note that 2nd level cache moved to the main CPU chip later. Intel additionally decided to license slot 1, claiming patents on it. Regular front side busses could not be patented, as they were purely functional, considered the most basic way to do something. Slot 1 was positioned so as to patent the physical connector and form factor so they could enforce their fees.

              Intel decided to threaten VIA (a very popular Socket 7
          • But in the future you'll have no choice. DDR3 can probably only fit one DIMM per channel (due to the capacitance, as already mentioned). If you only have enough pins for two DDR3 channels, then your high-end processor can only use 2 DIMMs, which simply is not enough. Or you could use those same pins for four to six FBD channels; even if you only have one DIMM per channel (no latency hit) you still come out ahead.
            • I doubt the RAM industry is going to move to a standard (DDR3) that is unworkable. Capacitance can be beat by stronger drivers. Maybe they'll just have to go to that. It does seem we'll end up going to buffered memory either way. Although I'd prefer it be just be registered (like ECC) not this FB-DIMM stuff.
          • Since processors stay in the cache most of the time, and memory reads then tend to be serial I don't see how this is such an issue.

            The concept had to return as soon as people forgot RDRAM and moved on a little.

            Quite possibly now is the time for high-latency RAM. The only reason RDRAM didn't work out is not for technical reasons (caching can handle that) but because they ran hot and were pricey.

            Hot, pricey RAM anyone?

    • Tom's Hardware is saying they'll have FB-DIMM's tomorrow.
    • That's nice, good for AMD. But where are the FB-DIMMs?

      What a coincidence that you ask that question now. I submitted a story yesterday to bring this article to the attention of the slashdot crowd "The Future of DDR Memory is Serial [dailytech.com]".

      Guess what, the submission was rejected, and yet in the same day they let through a story about a self perpetuating miracle motor. Why do I even bother!

    • FB-DIMMs are going to be used for servers (initially). (I think I read somewhere that he new Socket-F 1207 pins for the next Opteron will be FB-DIMM based.)

      There is the extra cost of the controller chip, per module, plus the added latency for parallel-serial-parallel data translation. For servers needing huge amounts of memory, they can deal with extra latency, but not for desktop applications and games where latency can mean the difference between 30 and 60fps.
    • FB-DIMM is really great if you want to make an extremely stable server and don't care as much about latency or just happen to not already have a memory controller on die.

      Oh, and yeah, Intel owns the patents so you would be paying your competitor and be beholden to them to chose your memory type.

      And all the memory manufacturers would have to pony up to Intel and also be beholden to them.

      I won't go into the technical details about how AMD's design is geared towards low latencies and suffers greatly when laten
    • Fully Buffered DIMMs won't be in desktop systems from either Intel or AMD, at least not anytime soon. They cost more than standard DDR2 DIMMs and increase the thermal load.

      However, they are well suited for servers that require lots of RAM. This is the main advantage of the technology -- allowing increased capacity. FBDs provide higher bandwidth but with increased latency. This means the following:

      1) Systems with 1-4 DIMM requirements are better off with standard DDR2. It's cheaper, cooler, and has lowe
  • Socket? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mboverload ( 657893 )
    Why can't they just make a socket with 200 pins and stick with it for a few years? I'm very tolerant when it comes to planed-obsolescence, but this is just getting stupid.
    • MISSPELL

      I meant 2000 pin. Sorry.

    • Re:Socket? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ortcutt ( 711694 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:57PM (#14765281)
      What's the point in using the same socket if your old processor won't work with it anyway? Changing the socket keeps people from thinking wrongly that they can use an incompatible processor with the motherboard in question.
      • Indeed. Socket AM2 will be a 940-pin socket like Socket 940, but the pin alignments are different, so the CPUs will not be interchangable between the older Socket 940 and the new AM2. I believe AMD went to the trouble of giving AM2 a non-numerial name to prevent confusion over the two sockets.
    • Hmm, maybe they don't want people turning their Athlon XP's into MP's? I don't know man that might be a reason why the Opterons have 940 pins while the Athlon64 have 754 and 939pins but I doubt it. All I know is, AMD didn't like that XP>MP Mod, at least I think. Would you? :X

    • Re:Socket? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @12:45AM (#14765472)
      AMD hasn't changed sockets just for kicks. The 754 to 939 transition was to add extra pins for the dual-channel memory controller. The AM2 socket transition will be to add support for DDR2 memory. These things required not just extra pins, but extra traces on the motherboard. Moreover, the traces have different timing characteristics because of the change in memory type. So even if AMD had used a socket with extra pins, old motherboards still wouldn't have the right lines to connect them to.
  • DDR2? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Monday February 20, 2006 @11:54PM (#14765271) Journal
    I thought DDR3 was the future?

    I read that it is expected late 2006/early 2007 and Samsung claims it'll be 2x the speed of DDR2 and it'll operate at 1.5v (less power consumption).

    I know NVidia is already using it on video cards...
    • Re:DDR2? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @12:06AM (#14765319)
      I know NVidia is already using it on video cards...
      nVidia is using GDDR3 which is based of DDR2 and has nothing to do with DDR3 (reference [wikipedia.org]).
    • Re:DDR2? (Score:5, Informative)

      by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @12:07AM (#14765326) Homepage
      Video cards are always ahead because of the high bandwidth they need, and more importantly the lack of compatibility. Each time you release a new video chip, you can just change the pin out and add as many pins as you want. You don't have to keep using the same exact pin out for 5 years so that users can upgrade their processors.

      Speaking of which, how many normal consumers actually DO upgrade their processors? Maybe we should move back to the soldered on processors of the past. No socket to be stuck to, no expensive ZIP socket to put on the board (you can't tell me that 940 pin ZIF sockets are cheap), not much downside (if your CPU dies, most people would just buy a new and faster computer today for the price to get the thing repaired).

      • Re:DDR2? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mcrbids ( 148650 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @12:40AM (#14765451) Journal
        Speaking of which, how many normal consumers actually DO upgrade their processors? Maybe we should move back to the soldered on processors of the past. No socket to be stuck to, no expensive ZIP socket to put on the board (you can't tell me that 940 pin ZIF sockets are cheap), not much downside (if your CPU dies, most people would just buy a new and faster computer today for the price to get the thing repaired).

        What makes you think the ZIF socket is for the consumer? No, it's really about the small tech shops, which represent a significant portion of sales. Typically, you'll see a small shop stocking 2 or 3 different types of Motherboards (one for high performance, one for cheap-o upgrades, and one somewhere in the middle) and a half-dozen processor speeds.

        With this scenario, the shop only has to stock 1 or 2 of each type of motherboard and maybe 5-6 processors. Stock is bad, because the deflationary index of computer gear is so high, so this lets just a dozen or so parts provide many different combinations for customer needs. This makes it more profitable for the business, and so more likely to stay in business.

        This leads to more sales, and more happy customers. Probably worth the $0.45 it costs the manufacturers to have the ZIF socket.
        • Re:DDR2? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by dan the person ( 93490 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @09:02AM (#14766809) Homepage Journal
          Not just for the small tech shops.

          Can you say "build to order"?

          If apple or hp etc find that more people are selecting the option to upgrade from 2.0Ghz to 2.116Ghz processor than they anticipated, then they can direct the assembly plant to start putting more 2.116Ghz processors in the motherboards as they assemble a notebook or processor. That is going to result in a greater supply of the faster machines in a day or two.

          Such a request to the motherboard manufacturing plant to start making more boards with the 2.116Ghz processor soldiered on is not going to see a greater supply to consumers in a day or two. The assembly line might take longer implement the change, but more importantly you've a couple of steps further down in the supply chain. Once the MBs have been manufactured you've still got to wait for them to be shipped to the assembly plant and then for them to be assembled into complete computers.

      • Speaking of which, how many normal consumers actually DO upgrade their processors? Maybe we should move back to the soldered on processors of the past. No socket to be stuck to, no expensive ZIP socket to put on the board (you can't tell me that 940 pin ZIF sockets are cheap), not much downside (if your CPU dies, most people would just buy a new and faster computer today for the price to get the thing repaired).

        When you think of it, apart from dual core there hasn't been much movement in the processor indus
        • When you think of it, apart from dual core there hasn't been much movement in the processor industry since ... 2003. All we've really seen is small tweaks ... and an emphasis on lower power usage.

          Lower power usage is precisely what makes residential dual core PCs and blade servers feasible. The same attitudes toward lower power usage will be necessary to control heat flow once Moore's law runs out (not soon [slashdot.org], but eventually) and we end up having to build into the third dimension with stacked dies.

      • when you could snap a x486 chip on top of your existing x386 chip?

        My father when that route to upgrade an IBM 65SX. I was amazed something so simple actually worked. It gave new life to an old machine.

        I think what prevents most people from ever replacing the chip in their system is that by the time they want to they are so frustrated with their old system they just want to replace it entirely. By frustrated I mean they have loaded it down with so much junk it is just a bear to use.

        Also throw in the fact
      • Sure, and why not have onboard video and sound as well....

        Dude, have fun on your iMac...

        Of course we could take it one step further and remove any discrete video memory....
        ---

        One of the best things about Apple's move to Intel is that even they are abandoning that line of thinking. The new Macbooks and iMacs use sockets...

        I can understand WRT laptop designs. Things need to be very compact. Modularity takes a back seat to weight, size, and form factor. Which is good. In a tower there's no excuse.
    • Re:DDR2? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Yehooti ( 816574 )
      I'm disturbed the Socket 939 has had such a relatively short life. It has served me well when upping from a 64 3500+ to a 64 X2 4400+, but I was expecting more time before another significant socket change. Am I the only one disappointed in this rather fast change to an even newer socket MB?
      • No, I could have bought a socket 754 system instead.

      • Re:DDR2? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Malor ( 3658 )
        That's the downside to the on-die memory controller. AMD has to make certain you don't mix the DDR-only chips with the DDR2-only motherboards, and vice versa.

        Had the memory controller been on the Northbridge, a la Intel, they could have kept the old sockets, but then they wouldn't have had as much of a performance advantage.
      • Re:DDR2? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Surt ( 22457 )
        Unfortunately, AMD has no choice. They have to change sockets every time they upgrade memory types, because the memory controller is built into the chip. As a result, expect another socket change in 3 years to switch to DDR3.
      • I'm disturbed the Socket 939 has had such a relatively short life.
        [...]
        Am I the only one disappointed in this rather fast change to an even newer socket MB?

        I'm sure there are lots of people who did what I did and hung on to their Socket A motherboards for a nice long time, ignoring the numbered sockets completely. Now we get to skip right over them to the AM2.

        CPU manufacturers should indeed be much more aware of the impact that changing sockets has. I used to think AMD was such a manufacturer. Look

    • Re:DDR2? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by DrMrLordX ( 559371 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @12:15AM (#14765355)
      DDR3 is the future, and some were speculating that AMD would leapfrog DDR2 completely and go straight to DDR3. Apparently, DDR3 supplies, availability, and prices aren't yet in the range for AMD to push it as their supported memory type in desktops.

      DDR2 has some drawbacks that make it less attractive for AMD platforms than even DDR. However, it should be noted that AMD has recently announced that socket AM2 will launch at DDR2-800 speeds rather than the initially-planned speed of DDR2-667. This increase in memory clock should negate most of the latency concerns surrounding DDR2 vs DDR. Should.
    • Re:DDR2? (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No. DDR3 and GDDR3 are very different, a common misconception.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDR3 [wikipedia.org]
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GDDR3 [wikipedia.org]

      DDR3 still is the future. I don't know why they're going forward with DDR2.
    • Re:DDR2? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Deliveranc3 ( 629997 ) <<deliverance> <at> <level4.org>> on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @02:19AM (#14765778) Journal
      DDR2 is a step backwards in performance but it's cheaper.

      Then the bottom fell out of the memory market (Pretty late Memory is behind the curve on improvement specifically in terms of performance... so many systems are still being made with DDR333) so as a memory manufacturer of course they are going to try to stir the market into an expensive new standard... Part of doing that is hitting people up about their current performance, for AMD it matters and they are relying on AMD to push memory tech with their integrated controller.

      At first it seems that it would provide a slower upgrade path but they can integrate lower latency and higher bandwidth far more easily than Intel.

      AMD would have to commit to a new memory architechture because their chips will be designed to only work with it, so they want a tested solution, they're not scared of commiting to a memory architecture with low performance they're scared of commmiting to one with a high price tag.

      Intel was REALLY hurt by XDR...

      I mean that was a masacre, AMD has multiple developers for their chipsets so the only chink in their armor would be a new memory arhitecture.

      While Intel has fsb problems they don't need to worry that Intel will find a new memory tech because they just won't be able to take advantage of it fast enough that AMD won't be able to upgrade their platform.
    • Re:DDR2? (Score:3, Informative)

      I know NVidia is already using [DDR3] on video cards...

      Not quite.

      The memory on the nVidia cards you are talking about is actually GDDR3, not DDR3. The name is similar, but the technology is not.

      From the Wikipedia DDR3 article [wikipedia.org]:

      The GDDR3 memory, with a familiar name but an entirely dissimilar technology, has been in use for several years in high-end graphic cards such as ones from NVIDIA or ATI, and as main system memory on the Xbox 360. It is sometimes incorrectly referred to as "DDR3".

  • Anandtech (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gogo Dodo ( 129808 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @01:00AM (#14765520)
    I'd rather read the AnandTech article on AM2 [anandtech.com]
  • A couple of things (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rob_Bryerton ( 606093 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @01:13AM (#14765550) Homepage
    Being sort of a slow news day, I tried something different and actually read TF "article", as there were no comments featuring "in Soviet Russia" yet posted. First off, SPONSORED LINKS are evil and annoying.

    I see the blurb mentions introduction of 6 dual core & 2 single core chips, and I wonder if this will be the new product tier differentiating mechanism: dual and single. Traditionally, we'd see the low end, which was the crippled version of the mid-range, then the high end typically added more cache and un-crippled SMP abilities. Perhaps the low end will be single core, mid-range dual, and high end w/larger caches & 4/8-way ability.

    Now that the MHz "wars" seem to be behind us, it's a race to pack multiple cores onto chips, which I see as a good thing. I've always had a thing for SMP rigs (my current & previous boxes are duals), and dual-core going mainstream means several good things for us SMP freaks, the least of which is more affordable 4-way boxen!

    In closing, I'd like to mention that this whole blurb about a story (which is in fact an ad vehicle) which references a yet-to-be published story, is rather silly and bizarre. And poorly written. Like my post.
  • Evil (Score:3, Funny)

    by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @01:42AM (#14765636)
    If they actually release it on June 6th 2006, (6/6/6) they should work out some kind of deal with ID to include a free copy of Doom3 with each processor for the rest of the year. If not, they should do SOME kind of fun thing with it. Although, they will probably chicken out, just like when they clock doubled the 333mhz processors, somehow they ended up with 665mhz.
  • by Dr. Spork ( 142693 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @01:49AM (#14765657)
    I don't know how many socket architectures Intel has introduced in the last two years. I just stopped caring enough to count. AMD, on the other hand, has basically standardized on one: 939. They deserve a lot of praise and respect for the fact that 939 runs everything from (almost) the bottom of the line to the very top, which is a big range, covering at least eight distinct core designs.

    Nobody believed them when they said that they won't make you buy a new mobo to upgrade to dual-core processors. Amazingly, AMD kept their promise! They even migrated some Opterons to 939 so you can upgrade your home computer with a real server chip. Now compare this to Intel and you'll see how disciplined and customer-friendly AMD have been.

    Of course, they want to make use of DDR2, and since your old motherboard doesn't have DDR2 slots, you'll need to buy a new motherboard to use DDR2. That's the end of the story! You'd have to be high to think you could keep your board and just upgrade to DDR2. AMD switched the pinout a tiny bit so that you don't make the mistake of plugging in an incompatible processor into the board. There's nothing more to it than that.

    So maybe people are complaining about being forced to go to DDR2, but I don't think that will happen. I'm quite sure there will be several new AMD processors for Socket 939, probably priced at the same level as their AM2 counterparts. The only difference will be the memory controller. Of course, it won't make much sense to buy 939, with DDR2 being almost as cheap as DDR.

    Maybe people were complaining about the extra burden on mobo manufacturers to retool, but this is absolutely minimal, as the Anand article [anandtech.com] makes clear. We will see many cheap AM2 boards almost right away, because they are so similar to Socket 939 and 940.

    Really, this is a great illustration of how a socket change should look.

    • by Gogo0 ( 877020 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @03:01AM (#14765882)
      Ah yes, all those dastardly intel sockets in the past two years...

      478 to 775
      umm...

      I should have posted as AC because Im going to be modded down to hell, but whatever.

      Mod parent +5 AMD Fanboy (people on slashdot call it Insightful for short)
      • What about mobile and "Core" CPUs?
      • Quite. Didn't AMD have socket 754 and socket 940 for a fair while too? I bought my "new spangly and top end" PC just as 939 was coming out and was monster expensive. Of course now (that socket 939 is the new PCI) I've been stitched on dual channel ram and the option of dual core procs. Oh well, shit happens.

        Dave
      • 478 to 775



        You can't be a trve Intel fanboy, or you would know about Socket 479.



        Also, what good is keeping the same physical socket around for years when the newer processor just won't run (or worse) in older mainboards due to voltage/power supply/whatever differences ? Might as well get a new socket change the socket then to keep the ijjits from frying their hardware.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        First off, you left out several currently used Intel sockets, including the mobile one(s). The AMD side has been very simple: Budget (754), Mainstream and Workstation (939), Servers (940). That's it. It's not hard. The mainstream S939 offering spans everything from 1.8GHz super-cheap CPUs to dual-core opterons and monster (2.8GHz) FX62 CPUs. If you can't get an upgrade out of your S939 board you're not planning it right. Mobile? Shit, you can put your low-wattage Turion64 in (almost) any old 754 board! How'

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Huh? AMD did nothing but screw over socket 940 the entire time.
      Originally joe blow got 754 and high-end people paid for dual-channel 940.
      Then the AMD marketing shmucks decided to migrate dual-channel to the masses while still artificially making the market distinct from servers/workstations. Socket 939.

      There is no difference whatsoever between 939 and 940 except artificial incompatibililty. (The "socket 940 registered ECC" requirement is a lie---that is a function of the newer CPUs' better memory control
    • I like your post, but have a few questions. Is DDR2 really any better? It's lower power, yes, and slightly faster clocked, but the latency is huge. Dunno about throughput, but I haven't seen anything spectacular from the (admittedly few) examples seen so far.
      googling for benches, not much to go on here. What exactly are the advantages of DDR2? It's actually cheaper than the old stuff already, so I'm very curious :)
      Anybody?
      • I found this article http://www.overclockercafe.com/Articles/DDR_vs_DDR 2/ [overclockercafe.com] which basically shows that DDR2 is the same or ever so slightly better than DDR at the same clock speeds, with the same mobo, but DDR2 can go to much higher clockspeeds (though their mobo couldnt run DDR2 at higher than 533Mhz). Looks like the nanosecond or whatever of extra latency really isnt much of a problem =p At least for the games they were testing
      • Is DDR2 really any better?

        For performance:

        On the Intel platform, definitely. Thanks to their external memory controller, they already suffer from high latency. A little extra latency over DDR1 does not hurt them.

        For AMD, it may yet be better. Keep in mind, these platforms being tested today are not yet optimized, and aren't using DDR2 800. I expect some performance improvement with the final product using DDR2 800. The key point is, even with DDR2 667, the release product should perform about the same
    • The Athlon's architecture provided AMD everything it needed to achieve not only more performance and less heat dissipation, but also more credibility in new customer segments which increasingly soak up AMD's products, according to recent analyst report


      Hmmm and less heat dissippation is good how?

      It's probably just me!
  • DDR2 (Score:2, Funny)

    by jeeperscats ( 882744 )
    Yes! AMD has DDR2, I wonder how long it will take Intel to catch up with them on that one....oh wait, nevermind.
  • by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Tuesday February 21, 2006 @05:27AM (#14766252)
    A video-card? Allow me to clarify: Video-cards routinely have 256bit mem-buses right now, and they have RAM that runs at around 1GHZ, giving them metric assload of memory-bandwidth. In order to achieve that, they use RAM-chips that are soldered right on to the board, and they have hefty heatsinks. What if processors had something similar?

    Processors would be sold in cards not that different from vid-cards these days. They would connect to a slot, and they would fhave the CPU, and attached to that CPU would be about 512MB (maybe more, maybe less) of very, very fast RAM on 256bit bus. Of course, it would cost a bit, but not more than video-cards do today (I bet that GPU's are more expensive to make than CPU's are). Yes, there are issues of memory-expansion, but what if there were regural DDR2 mem-banks attached to the northbridge on a "normal" 128bit bus that could be used for additional memory?

    If we had a SMP system with this kind of setup, it would offer A LOT of bandwidth. Each CPU would have very fast RAM attached directly to it. And they could access the RAM attached to the other CPUs. AND they could also access the RAM attached to the northbridge.

    Or maybe if they used the locally attached RAM as L3-cache? 512+MB of cache, anyone?

    Is this idea completely stupid, or does it have some sense to it?
    • AMD just licensed something called zram which will allow them to bundle oodles of L3 cache in the near future.
      http://www.geek.com/news/geeknews/2006Jan/bch20060 216034806.htm [geek.com]
    • You mean like Intel's Slot 1 and AMD's Slot A designs from 5 years ago? Which put the processor on a card, which also contained high speed memory and was slotted into the motherboard?

      Of course the reason for it then was because they couldn't get the enough L2 cache on the chip itself so they built an external cache at 1/2 CPU speed. As soon as they could fit the L2 cache they wanted onto the chip they moved away from the slot design because it's far more expensive to make.
      • You mean like Intel's Slot 1 and AMD's Slot A designs from 5 years ago? Which put the processor on a card, which also contained high speed memory and was slotted into the motherboard?

        Yes. However, in those cases, the memory was L2-cache, not system RAM (or L3-cache for that matter).

        Of course the reason for it then was because they couldn't get the enough L2 cache on the chip itself so they built an external cache at 1/2 CPU speed. As soon as they could fit the L2 cache they wanted onto the chip they moved a

    • What your describing sounds a lot like l3 cache and a SECC packaged processor.
  • Damn im after buying a 200euro socket 939 motherboard and 4400+ X2 processor for 500euro...

    my wallet hates how fast the IT insdustry moves!
  • Not to be confused with Cyrix's ill-fated Pentium clone "M-II" (M2) from yesteryear.
    Jeeze, what a poor naming choice from AMD's standpoint.
    • not really, I've never heard of that and I would consider myself slightly more geeky than your average computer user. And anyone who's more of a geek than me, wouldnt get confused either. Seems to me more like 'Pentium M' is a stupid name from that standpoint - the MII is better surely? ;)

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