Socket M2 to bring more speed to AMD desktop processors

Chicago (IL) - AMD will not only accelerate the transition from Socket A to 754 in the value segment, but also begin the move to the new Socket M2 for all its desktop platforms in the second quarter of 2006, Tom's Hardware Guide has learned. M2 will bring a 3800+ model to the Sempron platform, lift the dual-core Athlon64 X2 beyond a 4800+ rating and also carry the FX-59 gaming processor.

The news about dual-core processors as addition to AMD's product line is out, but it appears that AMD prepares for several other product refreshments over the next 12 months. Most recently, 90 nm Athlon64 chips with Venice (512 kByte L2 cache), San Diego (1 MByte) and Palermo (256 kByte) cores integrating support for SSE3 have begun appearing on the market, the dual-cores Manchester (2 x 512 kByte) and Toledo (2 x 1 MByte) will follow sometime in the second half of this year.

The company also has made no secret out of its intention to phase out Socket A for the entry-level Sempron processor and transition to Socket 754 and 939 - the latter being used for some time now for mainstream and high-end Athlon 64 chips. According to a roadmap seen by Tom's Hardware Guide, Socket 754 is already ramped down in favor of the 939. The 939 itself will start to be ramped down in the second quarter of 2006, when AMD will introduce a new Socket M2 that will trickle down quickly from the very high end to the mainstream and low-end segment by the third quarter of 2006.

The roadmap indicates that AMD will not increase clock speeds of its processors between now and the second quarter of 2006, if we leave the Athlon64 FX-57 - which is scheduled for third quarter of this year - out of the picture. With the arrival of M2 in the second quarter of next year, AMD however will introduce several speed upgrades, such as a 3800+ model for the Sempron, likely a 5000+ version of the Athlon64 X2 as well as a FX-59 processor that will target gamers - and represent the fastest processor of AMD's product lineup. All new processors will stay in the same power envelopes, which currently is a maximum of 125 watts for the FX, up to 110 watts for the X2 dual-core, 104 watts for the single-core Athlon 64 and 62 watts for the Sempron.

The Socket M2 will not be limited to the new product introductions but also applied to chips such as the FX-57 as well as the highest performing Athlon64 single-cores (3500+ and higher) and dual-core Athlon64s (4200+ and higher).

The roadmap also gave new insight in AMD's DDR2 strategy. DDR2 support will first be demonstrated with prototype boards for the 1 MByte L2-version of the Athlon 64 in August of this year with the FX and 12 x 1 MByte Athlon64 X2 (Toledo) following in September. Mass production support for DDR2 is scheduled to arrive in the second quarter of 2006.