The First Hammer Board Hits the THG Lab

Waiting For AMD

Even though we're currently unable to show you a complete Hammer platform, we nevertheless bring you the very first motherboard with the VIA K8T400M chipset. However, we still hope to present the first tests of the ClawHammer before Christmas. Most of the motherboard manufacturers have samples with a clock speed of 1.6 GHz, labeled unofficially as "XP 3200+."

A big issue at AMD is the thermal behavior of the processor, whose core is based on the 0.13 micron process. Compared to the Athlon XP with the Thoroughbred B core, the die surface has increased nearly 20% to 104 mm². This allows for more efficient CPU cooling as a result of the better ratio between the thermal power dissipation and the die surface. Also, new manufacturer guidelines will be coming from AMD: the cooler will not be attached to the CPU socket, as has been the case, and instead will be attached to a clip, which in turn is clamped to the motherboard with two screws. This will automatically mean a new source of revenue for established firms.

The Motherboard with the VIA K8T400M chipset and Socket 754 for the AMD ClawHammer.

The AMD Hammer with 1.6 GHz, which is unfortunately not available for testing.

Other changes have to do with the voltage of the motherboard, which is now connected to the 12 Volt channel of the ATX circuit via an ATX12 connector. Accordingly, it's to be expected that the thermal power dissipation will increase to somewhere between 80 to 85 watt. Gone are the days when this was a rarity: Intel's processors in the next two years should also have a thermal dissipation of 100 watt maximum, according to internal sources. Because of this, thermal design, and above all the even distribution of heat generation, will be playing an increasingly important role.

The socket of the future at AMD breaks a new record in the x86 world with 754 pins. The Intel Xeon is based on 603 pins.