AMD's Athlon 64 Has Arrived: the Athlon 64 FX and Athlon 64 (and Intel's P4 Extreme)

Socket 462 Gets Replaced: Sockets 745 And 940/939

Socket 462 has been around for a long time. However, with the launch of the Athlon 64 series, Socket 462's days are numbered. The "normal" Athlon 64 is based on the new Socket 754, and the Athlon 64 FX has to be plugged into Socket 940. The different pin count of the two Hammer CPUs is due to the fact that the Athlon 64 FX has a dual-channel memory interface as well as three HyperTransport ports. The standard Athlon 64 only has one single-channel memory interface and one HyperTransport port. The mPGA packaging, similar to that of the Intel Pentium 4 and Xeon, is common to all Hammer processors.

Integrated Memory Interface: No Northbridge Meddling

The concept of the Hammer multi-processor systems includes local memory on each CPU so that the other CPUs can access the memory of these CPUs via the HyperTransport bus. Initially, only the server version of the Hammer, the Opteron, will be equipped with two 72 bit wide DDR SDRAM channels. With a total of eight DIMM slots, this allows each processor to address 8 GB. The dual-channel interface of the Athlon 64 FX-51 offers a memory bandwidth of 6.4 GB/s. Still, the integration of the memory controller can also be considered as a limitation on flexibility.

Controlling Costs: Production Of Athlon 64/FX In Dresden

On site in Dresden: Only a stone's throw away at the same production site, Infineon is already working on wafers with diameters of 300mm. At AMD it's taking a little longer. Currently only wafers with diameters of 200mm are serving as the basis for the manufacture of Athlon XP and Hammer CPUs. Both the Barton (Athlon XP) and Hammer types (Athlon 64, FX, Opteron, Mobile Athlon 64) are based on structures 130 nanometers wide. In order to hold their own against future competition, cost reductions must be made in production. This issue can be resolved for one by using larger wafers (300mm) and further by using thinner structures. With the launch of the P4 successor Prescott, rival Intel plans to be the world's first manufacturer to rely on 90 nanometers. AMD is not at that point yet and is considering launching its 90-nanometer technology in mid-2004. Purely from a cost point of view, the 90-nanometer technology will cause an increase in yield per wafer and, ultimately, lower die costs.

CPU core Wafer costs Die material Package costs Packaging & Tests Total cost of die
Barton $3000 $20 $10 $8 $38
Hammer $3000 $38 $12 $8 $58

Manufacturing specialists in Dresden simply calculate the die costs from the wafer costs and the number of CPU dies per wafer. Add to that the costs for packaging, testing and assembly. Just a side note: Among process specialists, a price of about $3000 per wafer has been mentioned. This allows the costs for 130-nanometer dies to be calculated quite precisely. Our table shows the cost difference (pure material costs without actual packaging with pins) between Barton and Hammer dies.

The main goal of AMD should be to gain control of both margin and unit price for the Hammer and simultaneously to lower production costs. After all, lower total costs in production mean more flexibility in pricing for the chip manufacturer, particularly when high unit counts are necessary for the low-end segment. The mass market expects competitive processors, while the Opteron, which is strong on image, should ensure greater acceptance among the OEMs.

  1. A New World Order: The Athlon 64 FX And Athlon 64 Vs. The P4 Extreme
  2. A New World Order: The Athlon 64 FX And Athlon 64 Vs. The P4 Extreme, Continued
  3. A New World Order: The Athlon 64 FX And Athlon 64 Vs. The P4 Extreme, Continued
  4. Four Different CPUs With One Design
  5. Four Different CPUs With One Design, Continued
  6. Chipsets & Mainboards: Socket 754 Vs. Socket 940
  7. Chipsets & Mainboards: Socket 754 Vs. Socket 940, Continued
  8. Video 10 To Download: Athlon 64 FX-51 Vs. Athlon 64 Vs. P4 3.2 Extreme
  9. Athlon XP-64 Core: 95 Percent Athlon
  10. Athlon XP-64 Core: 95 Percent Athlon, Continued
  11. HyperTransport: A High-speed Bus Without Detours
  12. Socket 462 Gets Replaced: Sockets 745 And 940/939
  13. Fab30 Dresden Yield: 73 Athlon 64 CPUs Per Wafer!
  14. All AMD And Intel Processors At A Glance
  15. Rough Going - Hardware In The Test Panel
  16. Asus P4C800-E Deluxe: Board Revision 1.02, BIOS 1011 Beta 006
  17. Asus SK8N: Board Revision 1.03, BIOS 1003 Beta 003 (NVIDIA Settings)
  18. MSI MS-9130: Board Revision 1.0, BIOS 1.0BD
  19. General Hardware: Now More Hard Drive Performance
  20. AMD Test Platforms At A Glance
  21. Test Configuration And Special Features
  22. Sysmark 2002: Why Use Obsolete Applications?
  23. Benchmarks Under Windows XP - UPDATED
  24. SPECviewperf 7.1
  25. OpenGL Games: Serious Sam
  26. OpenGL Games: Wolfenstein Enemy Territory
  27. Synthetic: 3D Mark 2001 SE
  28. Games: Comanche 4
  29. Games: Unreal Tournament 2003
  30. Games: Splinter Cell
  31. Games: Warcraft III - The Frozen Throne
  32. Synthetic: 3D Mark 2003
  33. Game: X2 - The Threat Rolling
  34. Game: Gun Metal
  35. Games: AquaMark3
  36. MPEG Encoding: Main Concept MPEG Encoder
  37. MPEG-Encoding: Pinnacle Studio 8.8
  38. MPEG-Encoding: Xmpeg & Divx 5.1 Pro
  39. MPEG-Encoding: Windows Media Encoder 9
  40. MPEG-Encoding: MS Movie Maker 2
  41. Magix MP3 Maker 2004 Diamond
  42. Lame MP3 Encoder
  43. Steinberg Nuendo 2
  44. Sysmark 2002
  45. Winrar 3.2
  46. Newtek Lightwave 7.5
  47. Cinema 4D XL 8.1
  48. Seti@home 3.03
  49. 3D Studio Max 5.1
  50. Mathematica 5
  51. PC Mark 2002 Pro
  52. SiSoft Sandra Max 3
  53. Heat Protection: Now From AMD, Too
  54. Summary: The P4 3.2 EE Wins 32 Times, The Athlon 64 FX-51 15 Times - An Uncertain 64 Bit Future For AMD
  55. Summary: An Uncertain 64 Bit Future For AMD, Continued
This thread is closed for comments
No comments yet
    Your comment