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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  • marky1124 - Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - link

    I like this sort of article. I'd like to see a similar one for:

    . The Intel processor line
    . Nvidia graphics cards
    . ATI graphics cards

    I'd also like to see a reference chart that helps someone who is upgrading their graphics card. The problem is that as an owner of a GF4 Ti4600 I'll want to upgraded to either an Nvidia NV4x or a ATI R4xx based card. I'll need a chart to tie my old card to the equilvalent latest range when they are launched. Perhaps something like an extended DirectX 9 benchmark run across the last couple of years worth of cards.
    Reply
  • Jeff7181 - Wednesday, January 14, 2004 - link

    Looks like the Athlon-64 3400+ made them say "oh crap, we can't keep making these like this, they're just as good as the Athlon-64 FX-51." So what do they do? Handicapp the Athlon-64 with 512k L2 cache in the 939 pin variety... smart business move, possibly a bad marketing move.
    Looks like socket 754 is in my future as long as unbuffered dual channel RAM doesn't provide much more performance than it seems right now.
    Reply
  • MoronBasher - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    *i meant dell not deel, and i forgot "should" on one of the sentences... really, there should be an edit button somewhere... Reply
  • MoronBasher - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    Well, average joe consumer usually buys boxes by deel or hp, so no real loss there. Really, if you are going to put a system together, you be at least smart and do your homeowrk, look at the people who got spurred by the p4 socket shift. It's really their fault... so i really don't feel sorry for those "poor" individuals. More returns to the store... horay... Reply
  • TrogdorJW - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    "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...." Oh, God, not again. It just keeps getting worse....

    I'm sure we can all agree that *current* Athlon 64 2.0 GHz CPUs are beating *current* Pentium 4 3.2 GHz CPUs in the majority of benchmarks. Similarly, the A64 2.2 GHz is likely to beat the 3.4 GHz P4 when that becomes available. Beyond that, though, this AMD PR rating stuff is terrible. Look at this current plan:

    We have the 2.4 GHz A64 with 1 MB L2 cache that we're calling a 3700+. Then we have the 2.4 GHz 512K L2 version which is a 3400+. We also have the 2.2 GHz 1MB L2 version 3400+. And to make things REALLY CONFUSING - and to be stupid - we're going to have a different socket (939) with the 2.6 GHz 512K getting a 4000+, a 2.4 GHz 512K getting 3700+, and a 2.2 GHz 512K getting 3400+.

    To highlight the worst of this, let me reiterate. The AMD Athlon 64 3400+ could be any of the following:

    A) 2.4 GHz 512K cache socket 754
    B) 2.2 GHz 1024K cache socket 754
    C) 2.2 GHz 512K cache socket 939

    Caveat emptor?

    Now, for people who KNOW computers, we can go out and pick the best CPU for a system and put it all together. Clearly, though, Mr. Average Joe Consumer is not going to know which one of these CPUs is really the best. Many won't even realize that there are several versions of the same CPU speed that have different characteristics.

    With the 3400+ being available in no less than three options - and who knows WHAT we're likely to see next - there's a good chance that quite a few less knowledgeable people will go out and purchase a 3400+ expecting to pop it into their current motherboard. Only then will they find out that instead of the socket 754 that their motherboard supports, they've got the socket 939 version. "Oops."

    So, AMD apparently expects the people who buy CPUs to know enough to differentiate between the various versions of the CPUs. Fine. Gotta know socket type, amount of cache, etc. Then they turn around and say that we're too stupid to understand the relationship of IPC and clock-speed to overall performance. Can't have it both ways.

    In summary: AMD should tell their marketing department to come up with better campaigns. The crap is too transparent right now - gotta spread it on thicker!!!
    Reply
  • siamesenick - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    CRAM owns my face Reply
  • siamesenick - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    Reply
  • MoronBasher - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    Crampital, really, cram it... just stop your rhetoric...

    you sound like a child, sure prescott might be late. but wasn't amd late as well for their hammers?

    Microsucks? Why am i so sure you are using their operating system, sure they are late with 64bit windows, but do we really need it? 64 bit on athlons are still pretty much a gimmick

    Also, for people addressing that 64bit goodness for athlons is an investment... you are wrong... look at the price of an athlon compared that of a pentium, it's like getting free 64bit extensions. not paying for it.

    for people trashing amd for not going to support socket 940 in the future, you are wrong, amd will still keep churning out socket 940 chips as long as the OPTERON line lives!!! if you get an athlon fx 51 right now you can always upgrade to a faster opteron later, don't forget, the asus sk8n was once a opteron 1xx motherboard

    Reply
  • NFactor - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    The thread was getting lonely without CRAMITPAL...ok maybe not. Reply
  • CRAMITPAL - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    What nonsense, as usual...

    AMD don't need to go clock-for-clock with Intel. What counts in system performance is IPC - Instructions Per Clock cycle. AMD's IPC is so high compared to Intel's that an A64 3400+ that runs at only 2.2 Gigs. actual clockspeed can kick ass not only on the 3.2 Gig. Piss 4, but also the 3.2 Gig. Enema Edition priced at a fugging $1000 !!!

    It's so funny to hear how Intel is soon gonna run all over AMD, when Intel can't even get the fugged up defective design Prescott out the door a year+ late. As AnandTech, Xbit's Lab, Ace's Hardware, The Inquire and a ton of other websites have confirmed Prescott is nothing short of a fugged up, cobbed together, Flame Throwing piece of sh*t!

    To set the record straight for those who don't know or are in denial, when AMD intro'ed the Athlon, they held the performance crown from that day on some (4) years ago up thru the XP 3000+. The only time AMD relinquished the performance crown was when they went from 3000+ to 3200+. AMD should have bumped the clockspeed another 50 MHz. They could have also released the A64 3000+ but they were waiting on asshole Microsucks to finish the A64 update. As usual the hacks at Microsucks are months late and fugging clueless... SOS same old Microsucks !!!

    It amazes me how much technical ignorance passes as fact in these foolish threads. Don't any of you folks ever read technical reports, white papers, or scientific info. ??? I mean most folks in here look like complete technical idiots. All you do is argue about your favorite brand of PC hardware as if your manhood was dependent on the sale of same. Maybe you folks should stop playing all those video games and get out more???
    Reply

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