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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  • Shinei - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    64-bit, from the little bit of LAME encoding AT did back on the launch-day Opterons, showed a 40% increase in encoding speed... It could have been less, I'm not entirely sure on the number; it was significant, but not like "omg intel's blown away". On the other hand, a 3GHz A64 would be untouchable by Intel, and more expensive than the house you live in, considering that the FX-51 is still an $800+ part, and the 3.4GHz P4EE is over a thousand... Are you really sure you want AMD to go clock for clock with Intel? Reply
  • HammerFan - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    xstylus: Is a 3GHz A64 really necassary? Do you think AMD is lagging? Maybe they don't have the fastest CPU at video editing, but what about everything else? I never claimed to know much about video rendering, but do you think that 64bit rendering software would give it a leg-up? If it does, the A64 may very well top the P4 in performance..... Reply
  • sprockkets - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    The Athlon 64 is not so dependant on cache like Intel's, remember they don't duplicate the data in L1 in L2 like Intel does, and to some extent even that is duplicated in L3 for the EE edition chip. Intel depends on cache and FSB.

    That's the beauty of a on die memory controller, but the 1mb cache helps for server applications.
    Reply
  • MoronBasher - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    Icewind, just as the athlon64 3000+, cutting 512megs of cache from the processor isn't going to hurt it.

    i want to know how well dual channel ddr400 do to the athlon 64s
    Reply
  • xstylus - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    Is it REALLY that hard for AMD to hit 3ghz?

    I don't do much gaming, but I do a lot of video editing and rendering, which many reviews have shown that the P4 is tops in. Clock for clock, actually, the Athlon 64 and P4 are the same. Unfortunately the A64 hasn't hit 3ghz yet, and they're way overdue.

    When I purchase new equipment, I get technology that is double what I'm currently using. I'm currently using an Athlon XP at 1.43ghz (note that I stated the Mhz and not PR rating). I buy new equipment every 18 months. Month 18 is very quickly approaching, and I don't see a 3ghz (or at least 2.8ghz) processor on AMD's roadmap. They need to stop lagging!

    I'm looking carefully at Intel processors now, but I really have a beef with the price premium just to have the name Intel.
    Reply
  • Icewind - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    #14
    Lets just wait and see shall we before we start flinging mud around at AMD like a delusion stuck up politician election race.

    AMD has made a huge jump into a new area of technology INTEL has not planned on for some years yet. I cannot wait to read years from now how this big jump to 64bit caused AMD to become an industry leader and forebearer of technology to come while Intel struggles to reclaim its crown.
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    I agree with #11, and I've said it before in other comment threads: AthlonXP on socket 754 is a mistake. I honestly can't think of one good reason for AMD to do this... if they want to sell a value chip, fine, either keep selling Socket-462 chips in the value segment, or sell an Athlon64 2500+ for $100 (or whatever speed at whatever price). There is nothing to be gained by selling crippled Athlon64's as AthlonXP's.

    Ironically, the reverse of this actually would make sense, though AMD will never even consider it. That is, make an Athlon64 for socket-462 (for upgraders and the value segment). Since the actual processor core of the K8 is essentially the K7 with a couple of extra pipeline stages and 64-bit registers added, how hard would it be for AMD to strip the integrated memory controller and HT interfaces back out, and slap the EV6 bus interface back in? Beyond that, the most that would be needed to support 64-bit on an existing socket-462 board would be a BIOS update.

    Of course, A64 on Socket-462 will not be considered. It would be expensive, requiring another new proccessor core. AthlonXP on Socket-754 is much easier and cheaper, but that doesn't make it smart... At this point, it is not enough for AMD to match Intel on performance. They need to WIN with AMD64; 64-bit WindowsXP and 64-bit Linux need to be what everyone wants to run, and what everyone with a new AMD system can run, and what everyone who buys Intel can't run. AMD selling shiny new Socket-754 chips that can't run 64-bit code only dilutes AMD's 64-bit arguement, and helps poor 32-bit Intel.
    Reply
  • AgaBooga - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    I get the feeling we'll be seeing something very similar to what we saw when the Athlon XP and Pentium 4 came out, as in, AMD being in the lead towards the beginnging, but slowly shifting over to Intel by the end of the CPU's lifetime. That's what happened to Intel, when Williamette was released, it was crushed by the Athlon XP. Once the hyper threading enabled and 800mhz FSB P4 cpus came out, they were in the lead until Athlong 64 came out. I expect much more competition this time because they will have learned from their mistakes from their previous releases. Oh yeah, I think the company that can get their manufacturing process working for the cpus sooner will gain the lead, not to mention how well the process matures allowing for higher clock speeds... Reply
  • PrinceGaz - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    ChefJoe: Hmmm, I see its very briefly white text on dark-green here but it changes to black as soon as the page completes on my browser (IE6 SP1). Maybe just my popup blocker doing something odd. Not really a problem anyway as its still just about readable. Reply
  • wrong - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - link

    I don't understand why they'd make Socket 754 Athlon XPs with 64-bit capability disabled. AMD64 is a platform, and network effects mean that the more 64-bit capable machines are out there, the better they all do.

    I guess they must be anticipating a powerful need to differentiate between products to exploit different market segments, but it still seems wrong.
    Reply

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