Sitting in a seemingly endless number of meetings at CES, you quickly realize that keeping up with all of the product releases, socket flavors, chipsets to wait for and GPUs to lust after is virtually a full time job.

We try and ease the burden as much as possible by providing you with coverage as soon as we get the information, but what we're seeing at the start of this new year is that with so much changing it's necessary to work a little harder to simplify things. The Intel world is pretty easy to follow; Prescott is due out soon in a Socket-478 flavor, followed by a LGA-775 version. By the end of this year Intel may begin sampling Tejas, the successor to Prescott but very little is known about the chip. Tejas has been rumored to be a multicore desktop chip, however we're now receiving information contrary to what we had once thought.

On the chipset side, we are all waiting for Grantsdale and Alderwood from Intel, the successors to the 865 and 875 platforms. But where Intel's 2004 roadmap is pretty straight forward, AMD's is a bit more cluttered with the confusion of varying cache sizes, Socket-939 and model numbers. Although most of the information about AMD's future plans have already been leaked on the net, we decided to put together a quick reference page to AMD's 2004 CPU roadmap to go along with our recent coverage of chipset plans.

The roadmaps are divided according to CPU socket and the rest is self explanatory - we hope the information is concise and useful:

Socket-754 Roadmap for 2004
  Clock Speed Cache Size Release Date
AMD Athlon 64 3700+
2.4GHz
1MB
Q2 '04
AMD Athlon 64 3400+
2.4GHz
512KB
Q2 '04
AMD Athlon 64 3400+
2.2GHz
1MB
Already Available
AMD Athlon 64 3200+
2.0GHz
1MB
Already Available
AMD Athlon 64 3000+
2.0GHz
512KB
Already Available
AMD Athlon XP 3000+
TBD
256KB
Q4 '04
AMD Athlon XP 2800+
TBD
256KB
Q3 '04

As of now, the fastest Socket-754 CPU will be the Athlon 64 3700+; current motherboard owners looking for an upgrade path can look no further than the 3700+ running at 2.4GHz.

What's interesting is that the model numbers seem to scale more than linearly with clock speed, something we noticed with the Athlon XP that eventually led to its misleading model numbers. In the case of the 3400+, a 10% increase in clock speed over the 3200+ resulted in a 6.25% increase in the model number (resulting in the 3400+). However, if we look at the 3700+, a 9.1% gain in clock speed results in an 8.8% increase in model number. Where we cannot draw a parallel to the Athlon XP model number situation is in the fact that the Athlon 64's on-die memory controller does allow the CPU to scale much better with clock speed. It could very well be that AMD is counting on the Athlon 64's performance scaling much better with clock speed than Prescott, thus justifying the increased model numbers.

What's also worth mentioning is that the 3700+ will be the last 1MB L2 cache Athlon 64 to hit the market, every other Athlon 64 will feature a 512KB L2 cache. The smaller cache size brings us to the difference between the two Athlon 64 3400+ processors listed in the chart above; the current 2.2GHz 3400+, as you know, features a 1MB L2 cache. In the next quarter, AMD will bump the clock speed of the 3400+ to 2.4GHz and cut the cache in half in order to maintain the performance rating.

The last thing to note are the two Socket-754 Athlon XPs on the chart; although clock speeds have yet to be determined, you can expect these two processors to feature an on-die memory controller just like their Athlon 64 brothers but have their 64-bit support disabled. The reduction in cache size to 256KB will decrease 32-bit performance by a noticeable amount, but they will make a good successor to the current Socket-A Athlon XPs.

Socket-939 Roadmap for 2004
  Clock Speed Cache Size Release Date
AMD Athlon 64 FX-55
2.6GHz
1MB
Q4 '04
AMD Athlon 64 FX-53
2.4GHz
1MB
Q2 '04
AMD Athlon 64 4000+
2.6GHz
512KB
Q4 '04
AMD Athlon 64 3700+
2.4GHz
512KB
Q4 '04
AMD Athlon 64 3700+
2.4GHz
512KB
Q2 '04
AMD Athlon 64 3400+
2.2GHz
512KB
Q2 '04

The new Socket-939 platform will bring dual channel support to the entire line of 64-bit AMD processors, and it will also take away half the cache from all but the FX processors. Although the Socket-754 3700+ features a full 1MB L2 cache, the Socket-939 version will not be given more than 512KB. What's interesting is that the two processors carry the same 3700+ model number, running at the same 2.4GHz, while the Socket-754 version features twice the cache. AMD seems to be indicating that the advantage of a 128-bit memory interface will offset any performance loss incurred by halving the cache. We have not seen much data to support this theory, but we'll keep a close watch on it.

If you'll notice, there are two 3700+ processors on the roadmap above and since we're trying to clear up confusion, here's an explanation: the Q4 Socket-939 processors are supposed to be based on AMD's 90nm process (that includes the 4000+ and the FX-55). AMD has demoed 90nm Opterons already, but they were running at 800MHz so there's no indication of how well AMD will be able to stick to this roadmap. If we were to expect any deviation from the roadmap as it stands it would be in Q4; new manufacturing processes are not easy to ramp up as we've seen time and time again from both AMD and Intel (Prescott anyone?).

Socket-940 Roadmap for 2004
  Clock Speed Cache Size Release Date
AMD Athlon 64 FX-53
2.4GHz
1MB
Q1 '04
AMD Athlon 64 FX-51
2.2GHz
1MB
Already Available

Finally we have the quickly demising (at least on the desktop) Socket-940 platform, the FX-53 looks like the end of the line.

We hope this has been helpful; if you'd like to see similar quick reference articles about other companies let us know.

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  • MoronBasher - Friday, January 16, 2004 - link

    do you really want me to start listing all the vendors?

    asus, tyan, gigabyte, leadtek, msi... etc.

    I'm only saying one vendor to to the fact that it's a proven fact that amd 940 cpus wotk on the same motherboard athlon or opteron...

    and tyan is one of the biggest server motherboard makers. they even make athlon mp boards with agp 8x at atx form factor.

    o yeah... i just remembered who i'm talking to... someone who doesn't have a clue...
    Reply
  • ianwhthse - Friday, January 16, 2004 - link

    Those two sure hit it off, eh?

    All I said was that it could be done but was more expensive.

    But they're married or something...*duck behind computer*
    Reply
  • Rustang - Friday, January 16, 2004 - link

    No apology is needed. One needs to learn to read carefully before demaning apologies. You recommended 1 motherboard (from one vendor) and that's your best answer to all of the questions that were asked? Here's a little homework exercise -- compare your Sk8N to the Sk8V, or even better to the 250 chipsets that will be on the market in just a few months? So you never upgrade the BIOS of your computer, because you don't believe in vendor support for your hardware? :)

    Seems like you'll have to bash yourself...

    The one slim chance here is that for some reason all the socket 940 consumer board makers unlike AMD decide to keep supporting and further developing the existing product (i.e. nForce3 250). I seriously doubt that would happen given the relatively small size of the FX-51 consumer base.
    Reply
  • MoronBasher - Friday, January 16, 2004 - link

    rustang, where is your "wrong" apology... i'm waiting.

    Guess what, amd will not do the exact same thing as intel did. intel just completely stopped making socket 423s. Now, amd will still continue to make 940 cpus, 939 cpus and even 754.

    hell, you can still upgrade... go to newegg, they are selling opteron 1xx cpus right now, and they will still keep selling opteron 1xx in the future. even the asus sk8n wasn't suppose to be "athlon fx" boards. the sk8n was meant to be single cpu opteron board anyway. being launch like 4 months before the real "athlon 64s" arrived in september.
    Reply
  • Rustang - Thursday, January 15, 2004 - link

    Let's talk about top of the line offerings from Intel and how many years after the initial offering of that technology Intel supports that product shall we...

    Also, the argument that Intel does it, so it's cool for AMD to do the same is kind of cynical don't you think (your comment on money being no concern is also arrogantly cynical -- $2000 for a PC? what are you building a Cray?). I hope that AMD doesn't follow your logic that "it's the consumer's fault for saving up and buying a top of the line processor", because that will inevitably result in higher revenues for Intel.

    I've always held AMD to a higher standard (the naive me) and would like to think that they have the lead today precisely because they've always tried to do things better than Intel. Now's not the time for AMD to become sloppy and customer negligent. They should rectify this snafu and give FX51 owners the option to swap to the socket 939 equivalent.

    P.S. Hope you're not a gambling man. With your "betting" prowess, you'll lose your shirt very quickly.
    Reply
  • MoronBasher - Thursday, January 15, 2004 - link

    God, do i have to restate myself over and over again?

    Look no further than the Asus sk8n, it supports opteron 1xx (meaning single processor opterons)

    hell, all athlon fx 940 motherboards supoorts the opteron 1xx chips.
    Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Thursday, January 15, 2004 - link

    Actually, Rustang, taking a cue from Intel's playbook, you CAN introduce a product and then more or less kill off support for it six months later. Intel did that with the Socket 423 Pentium 4 processors. That is why I never buy "bleeding-edge" hardware: it may not be as well designed as it could be. Wait six months after new technologies are introduced and then decide whether or not they are worth buying.

    Anyone that went out and purchased and Athlon FX got precisely what they wanted: the fastest desktop PC currently available at the highest price available. Clearly, for these people, money was not a real concern. For anyone that spends over $2000 for a PC, money is not part of the equation; it's all about bragging rights (which is, frankly, stupid). I'm betting heavily that you do not own an FX-51 system, so AMD has not "lost [your] (and a whole lot of other people's) business." They never had it to begin with (in your case).
    Reply
  • Rustang - Thursday, January 15, 2004 - link

    An Opteron (non-server) mobo in the same price range and vendor variety with all the multimedia/fire-wire bells and whistles of an FX-51 nForce 3 150/250 chipset? Oh and with the same overclocking (unlocked multiplier) capability and consumer PC dimensions?

    If you know of such an Opteron 2xx board (or one that will be on the market at the same time as the socket 939/754 equivalents) then please enlighten me. I will gladly admit that I was wrong. In the meantime, I did think before I type and what I said stands true (at least for me).

    P.S. Yes the FX51 is a rebadged Opteron. Given that, the only reason why AMD would relabel it is because it intends to make this line of processors available and affordable to the consumer (and in the course of doing so kick Intel's behind). You can't just introduce a product and leave within 6 months. If your consumer price doesn't secure the desired margins given the hefty manufacturing cost, then you should've thought of that up front shouldn't you. It's poor business strategy any which way you cut it.

    -----
    Rustang you are wrong.

    Really, you are. The FX is a rebadged opteron. For those who has an FX right now, they can always put their cpus on Opteron mobos in the future. and upgrade through that. So amd really isn't really leaving anyone in the dust as many have said. All that amd is going to take away is the name off of the "athlon 64 fx" and put back the proper name of opteron in its line up

    Think b4 you speak (in this case... type)
    Reply
  • Rustang - Thursday, January 15, 2004 - link

    Reply
  • ianwhthse - Thursday, January 15, 2004 - link

    Rustang: As has been pointed out, the Opteron series will continue on the 940 pin setep for as far as any known roadmaps go. The 1xx series is an upgrade option to consider (especially when they move to smaller process), though the higher cost of the Opterons may make it worth while for the hardcore upgraders to switch over to the 939 instead. Reply

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