What about AMD?
There has been very little news coming out of Austin. Since Intel's Core 2 Duo was launched, the AMD Athlon 64 processor family has lost its supremacy. Although recent price drops helped AMD to stay competitive, and it continued to deliver decent performance per Watt ratios, its processors are beaten. However, AMD is not asleep: After we mentioned that we were about to release this technology preview article and Kentsfield would introduce a whole new level of performance, AMD felt compelled to provide a sneak-peak into its upcoming 4x4 platform.
Last Friday, the AMD public relations machinery made it possible to show us a last-minute demo of a working 4x4 system using a HP Halo video conferencing/collaboration system. For those who are not familiar with Halo: It is a triple-display, High Definition audio/video conference system with a fourth display that is attached to a High Definition zoom camera. These setups start at about $100k, but they deliver an experience as if you were sitting next to each other - or next to the technology that is shown off. We were shown a dual processor socket AM2 platform that was powered by unregistered Samsung DDR2-800 memory (rated CL-5-5-5-15) and two Nvidia GeForce 7950GX2 graphics cards.
Although AMD did not want to comment on platform details or a possible launch date, we are sure that the demo system ran an nForce 590 chipset (although all AM2 core logic can be used to run dual-socket 4x4). We know, however, that the platform will require different AM2 Athlon 64 processors that come with three rather than two HyperTransport links. Also, we are confident that AMD will release these processors at clock speeds at up to 3.0 GHz. The Windows Task Manager indicated four CPU cores, AMD chose 3DMark05 to show that the system works properly.
If we have to guess as to when AMD will finally release 4x4, we would say that it will rather be sooner than later. As we've seen, Core 2 Quadro represents a significant step ahead, which AMD cannot counter until its 65 nm quad core processors will be available in H2/2007. AMD needs 4x4 now.
Intel Core 2 Duo articles:
Game Over? Core 2 Duo Knocks Out Athlon 64
Would You Buy A Core 2 Duo System Today?
IDF Spring 2006: Will Intel's Core Architecture Close the Technology Gap?
Top Secret Intel Processor Plans Uncovered
Interactive CPU Charts:
Tom's Summer CPU Charts Assault