10:04 AM
Connect Directly

AMD Upgrades Athlon X2 Desktop Dual-Core Lineup

AMD's chip introduction comes as the company is locked in an intense dual-core technology battle with Intel. HP will be among the first to take the CPU to market.

AMD on Wednesday will debut its dual-core Athlon 64 X2 5200+ desktop processor. The high-end parts are intended for use in commercial desktop PCs. Hewlett-Packard will be among the first Tier I computer makers taking the CPU to market, in its new HP Compaq dc5750 desktop PC.

HP showed off the 5750, as well as a workstation which will use AMD's new Rev. F Opteron server processors, at a joint event with AMD in New York on Tuesday evening.

The 5200+ runs at a clock speed of 2.6 GHz and is fitted with a dual, 1-MB L2 cache. As with AMD's top-of-the-line desktop dual-core, the FX-62, the 5200+ uses AMD's new AM2 socket. The socket effectively doubles the processor-to-memory bandwidth by enabling the chip to work with newer and faster generation of DDR2 memory. AM2 also brings support for AMD's hardware-assisted virtualization technology to the desktop.

The 5200+ comes in at the top of AMD's dual-core Athlon 62 X2 family, above the Athlon 5000+, which was introduced in May. The X2 family is one rung down from AMD's top-of-the-line FX-62 dual core. However, the FX-62 is aimed largely at so-called "enthusiast" users -- mainly high-end gamers. As a result, the 5200+ effectively becomes AMD's highest performing mainstream part aimed at commercial desktops.

AMD's chip introduction comes as the scrappy semiconductor vendor is locked in an intense dual-core technology battle with Intel. That battle has played out in a series of recent product introductions. In May, AMD refreshed the high end of its Athlon line, and in July Intel introduced its long-awaited Core 2 Duo (formerly codenamed Conroe) chips -- the first desktop processors in its new "Core" microarchitecture.

With the Core 2 Duo processors, Intel is widely considered to have taken back the performance crown at the high end of the dual-core landscape. That's a position AMD had held for a considerable period of time. However, on Tuesday, AMD wasn't conceding anything. "We still believe we provide the best overall experience from a price/performance perspective," said Kevin Knox, AMD's vice president of commercial business.

AMD also avowed that it has been making considerable progress towards the next leap forward in processor technology -- quad-core chips. To make those CPUs, AMD is currently ramping up its next-generation semiconductor fabrication process at its new Fab 36 in Dresden, Germany. "Quad cores will be at 65-nm," Kurt Holman, AMD's commercial-desktops division marketing manager, said in an interview Tuesday. "We are starting to ramp up 65-nm and will be shipping for revenue by the end of the year."

AMD's existing Fab 30 facility in Dresden is simultaneously being retrofitted for 65-nm. That plant should be pumping out chips on 300-mm wafers by the end of 2007.

AMD's 65-nm push is significant because Intel is already at 65-nm, while AMD's processors are currently fabricated using 90-nm technology.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 Digital Issue, April 2015
The 27th annual ranking of the leading US users of business technology
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
. We've got a management crisis right now, and we've also got an engagement crisis. Could the two be linked? Tune in for the next installment of IT Life Radio, Wednesday May 20th at 3PM ET to find out.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.