Sledgehammer core could extend to all AMD chips

Which would give Intel a run for its chip money

A student in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Colorado has written a preview of AMD's Sledgehammer which outlines its architecture and future, and poses intriguing questions on future directions in the x86 market. Tom Kerrigan says that the available information on the 64-bit Sledgehammer, which AMD hopes to release next year, shows that the firm can manufacture these processors at approximately the same price as it does its current and future Athlon family. He adds that additional instructions on the Sledgehammer, called technical floating point (TFP), will give FP performance equal to Risc processors, including the Alpha, the PA-Risc, and the Sun Sparc platform. While Intel's future Willamette might threaten AMD's current Athlon platform, Kerrigan says AMD has an alternative: "A chip with TFP will be able to whomp Willamette at 3D gaming (which drives the mainstream performance market). I believe AMD should not overlook this option." Kerrigan adds that the x86-64 core in Sledgehammer is not much bigger than the Athlon's core, so allowing AMD to make this core a standard feature of its entire product line. That would allow AMD's consumer processors to have the power of 64-bit computing too, he adds. His preview can be found here. ®