Skip to main content

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

Fab30 Dresden Yield: 73 Athlon 64 CPUs Per Wafer!

AMD only uses wafers with a diameter of 200mm, which results in a total silicon surface of 31,416mm². The quotient of wafer surface and the size of the CPU die gives you the theoretical yield without geometric waste. With the 200mm diameter wafers, it's been shown in the production process that the average waste is 18%. This gives you a theoretical maximum yield of 122 CPUs, as long as the yield rate is 100%. In practice, it's been shown that up to almost 60% yield can be attained during the production process after two years. The result is 73 CPUs per wafer. Information about exact numbers is strictly confidential, but our calculations are certain to come pretty close. However, we doubt that AMD's yield will be any more than 30% - this is based on information from other chip manufacturers that use similar processes.

A wafer with Hammer CPUs: if everything runs optimally, than AMD can get approximately 73 Hammer Athlons from one disc. This is based on internal THG calculations as well as information from other sources.

Not Yet Available: Software For 64 Bits

Although AMD has published a list with many details on the Athlon-64 support, there are few software publishers who plan over the medium term to offer applications for true 64 bit operation.

In video the Divx encoder for MPEG-4 will be available shortly in a final version for 64 bit. Game producers in general are also hesitant: although according to AMD, producers like Epic, Valve, Crytek and SCI offer games based on 64 bit code. Companies such as ID Software, who are responsible for titles like Quake3, are not ready to jump onto the 64 bit bandwagon.

In what timeframe Microsoft will be able to bundle its final version of Windows XP 64 with systems is currently unknown. However, we can assume that an operating system will be ready before summer 2004. The pre-alpha version of Windows XP 64 that we use came with only a few drivers integrated.