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AMD's Upcoming CPU/GPU Platform To Catch Up With Intel?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 18 comments


San Francisco (CA) - At the moment, AMD GPG (former ATI Technologies) could be considered as the only division in AMD that is firing on all cylinders. The 7-series chipsets, the mobile Puma platform, XGP and the Radeon 4800 series are all fantastic products. The CPU division had less luck with its recent products, especially if you think about the underestimated competitive threat from Intel, the catastrophic Barcelona B2 revision and a 45 nm architecture that is about to miss its initial launch target. But things are changing and the company may be able to compete with Intel sooner than some may think.

Industry sources told us that AMD is making progress on several fronts that are believed to make the company more nimble and effective against its blue rival. On the corporate side, we are hearing chatter about internal restructuring currently taking place so that launches of processors correspond to launches of chipsets and graphics processors. While the launch of the Spider platform launch got buried under the TLB disaster, AMD thinks it now has a better understanding of the needs of individual markets - at least that is what our sources told us.

On the product side, AMD wants to regain influence in the enthusiast market with affordable, but highly overclockable processors - such as the upcoming Phenom 9950. AMD is apparently shooting for a 12,000 CPU score in 3DMark Vantage. However, we were not able to get any specifics about the overclock required to hit this point. Since current Phenoms are checking in at less than 10,000 scores, we would expect a 20% higher clock rate.

However, looking at AMD’s more and more marketed "balanced platform" approach and the continuing advance of GPUs in everyday computing should put AMD into a much improved market position soon.

AMD’s team in Austin managed to use two R700 dual-GPU graphic cards (four RV770 chips) to get a score of X12515. This was done with four GPUs, while Nvidia uses three GTX280 boards to achieve a similar score. The R700 boards were clocked at 778 MHz, while the GDDR5 memory was clocked at 980 MHz QDR (that’s 3920 "MHz", or just 3.92 GigaTransfers/sec), we were told. This brought the total on-board video bandwidth to an impressive 250.8 GB/s.

R700 boards are planned for introduction within the next seven weeks and if we trust our sources, then we should expect the Phenom 9950 in a similar timeframe. The 790GX chipset will ship with two new Southbridge chips - the SB700 and SB750 will also arrive in time for these new products. So, we are taking note: AMD will have an overclockable graphics card, an overclockable processor and an overclocker-friendly chipset.

Is AMD on back on track? We think so.

Display 18 Comments.
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  • 0 Hide
    jaragon13 , June 30, 2008 10:56 AM
    Dear god,I hope they don't fail on this one,and they actually get some badass market entries... I
  • 1 Hide
    jaragon13 , June 30, 2008 10:57 AM
    ^^ comment failure.
  • 2 Hide
    hawler , June 30, 2008 11:53 AM
    I hope this ends up being a great product line-up...both to give intel a little kick in the butt to and because everyone likes an underdog
  • 0 Hide
    puterpoweruser , June 30, 2008 12:12 PM
    They need to hurry up and get the products out so i can buy em!!! I have 2 4850's waiting for a new board and processor.
  • 1 Hide
    tagasur , June 30, 2008 12:39 PM
    i was just about to get started on my rig based on the amd phenom 9850. now tom's is saying the 9950 will be out in a few weeks. okay, anything to help me not suck at counterstrike:source.
  • 1 Hide
    liemfukliang , June 30, 2008 12:51 PM
    Just make sure 4 R770 priced less than 3 GTX 280. Now with Radeon Physhis X, we don't have to choose between DX 10.1 (Radeon HD 48xx) or Physhic X (GTX 280). If only Nvidia can make a decent mainstream that is twice 9600 GTS with the 9600 GT price and if supprisingly DX 10.1 (which is quite impossible) than I don't think beside performance NVidia win anything....(price, TDP, etc)....
  • -1 Hide
    jimmysmitty , June 30, 2008 1:14 PM
    Welll DX10.1 is nice as it makes much better use of the Unified Sharder arch that all Radeon 2900 and up uses this design but its not anything amazing.

    I only wounder about people on non SB700 mobos (i.e. AM2 mobos) and if its the same problem as to why they cannot overclock Phenom much. Then I also feel sorry for those who will buy a new mobo to be able to overclock after buying a B3 Phenom to replace their B2 Phenom with. Its like buying 2 systems.
  • 2 Hide
    Zorg , June 30, 2008 1:15 PM
    I'd like to see AMD kick some butt on both fronts.
  • 3 Hide
    hannibal , June 30, 2008 2:15 PM
    Did you allso read the interesting story that the tessalation unit in ATI cards can be used for tray-tracing?
    What AMD needs is some luck and hard work. Intel has been alone in the hill far too long for me to be confortable. Don't get me wrong, I really like Intel products. I just don't want to be forsed to chose among one distributor in any sector...
  • 2 Hide
    Samuka3000 , June 30, 2008 2:35 PM
    Well, let's just see how good this new 'green power' thing does, again.
  • 4 Hide
    ZootyGray , June 30, 2008 3:58 PM
    This is just a confirmation of what has been hinted at before. As for the notion of "get it right this time", it's a process, not an event in itself. Such improvements and evolution will continue. I have this weird fantasy about "true quad" appearing as cpu + gpu (both) - that being a combo of what's available in each, appearing in both. So a quad gpu paired with a quad cpu - only it's called a highly proprietary amd mobo - or is the word "exclusionary".
    I like this "balanced platform" idea - the potential is enormous. But I really don't know much about how it can be done - and I think if we had the amazing amd superpooter, we would all have to cash in our amd-fanboy t-shirts, and started rooting for intel - gawwwwd, can you imagine such treason? Yeh, we love the underdog. But I think the underdog is really quite opposite, and the lawsuit scene is bigger than imagined. Money is dominating, not technology.

    These are my idle thoughts, I don't know much about legaleez or supertek. But I see this threatened company doing a lot more with a lot less, and it makes me wonder what fairplay would do.

    I am also one who believes in the desirability of a eutopic world in which we simply do what is needed and best for all and efficient - because money doesn't rule our pathetic illusions of reality. Our sense of competition is distorted - we see it as opposition when we are all really on the same side pulling for our greater good. Money instantly derails that, and so we have to deal with dirt - and that's what affects us all; although we are told it's terrorism, hi-crime etc. The real crime - well, you can see as well as I can - we are not taught to think of this. (conditioned, programmed) And so it continues until we refuse to play the game and decide to share our toys with the havenot underdogs - wow, listen to the divisionary separation, and the inferior superior - all created equal without a hope. Depressing, huh. Welcome to the dark side. I didn't create this. But I saw this when I was a child. Obvious and senseless. Captain Kirk for president. No wonder games are so popular. Virtual reality. Is there a game without violence that's totally immersive?
    Sorry for long post and sidetracking - I guess I need to vent occasionally.
  • -5 Hide
    zenmaster , June 30, 2008 4:20 PM
    It's True.
    The New Phenom is going to be Awesome.

    They contracted out Tinker Bell from Disney.
    She is now sprinkling Pixies dust on all of the 9950 Phenoms.

    This will fix all of the heat and overclocking issues.
    Now need for the die shrink.
    No need for the use of the newer composites that AMD is using.
    The Pixie does also greatly increases the IPC.

    Yeah, That new chip is gonna ROCK!!!!!
  • -3 Hide
    MxM , June 30, 2008 5:05 PM
    Who cares.

    I would rather upgrade just video cards than processors AND video cards.

    PhysX FTW.
  • 4 Hide
    kelfen , June 30, 2008 6:50 PM
    interesting... If they do this rigth they could have themselves in a very good position in such that now they are able to combine thier CPU and GPU to scale well together.
  • 0 Hide
    DXRick , June 30, 2008 7:09 PM
    I doubt this will be a leap-frog event. It will probably be more of froggy-style event, where their frog jumps on the blue frog and..... :p 
  • 0 Hide
    doomsdaydave11 , July 2, 2008 8:18 PM
    puterpoweruserThey need to hurry up and get the products out so i can buy em!!! I have 2 4850's waiting for a new board and processor.

    Why would you buy 2 graphics cards that you cant use, when you can just wait and then get them cheaper? Either way, good choice of cards ;)  :D 

    zenmasterIt's True.The New Phenom is going to be Awesome.They contracted out Tinker Bell from Disney.She is now sprinkling Pixies dust on all of the 9950 Phenoms.This will fix all of the heat and overclocking issues.Now need for the die shrink.No need for the use of the newer composites that AMD is using.The Pixie does also greatly increases the IPC.Yeah, That new chip is gonna ROCK!!!!!

    SPAM! RUN!!!

    Hopefully AMD gets back on track. Not because I'm an AMD fanboy, but because Intel needs to finally get "a kick in the pants". They haven't had one since the A64 days.
  • 0 Hide
    zarksentinel , July 5, 2008 2:36 AM
    AMD wants to regain influence in the enthusiast market with affordable, but highly overclockable processors

    they are actually doing that.thanks to ATI/AMD,you guys save lots of my money :D 
  • 1 Hide
    roofus , July 6, 2008 5:48 AM
    I wouldnt consider the 9950 a desirable overclocking platform compared to the competitions offering from what I have seen. I do want AMD to roll out something mean so I can come back to them. I despise the ATI side of their business but always had a strong bias in favor of the AMD CPU's. It made me feel guilty to go Intel this last build but felt I couldnt come close to my expectations with their current best.