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AMD nails Hammer specs

But no dates or MHz promises yet

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MPF As expected Chimpzilla disclosed new information about its first 64bit CPU Hammer today at the Microprocessor Forum in San Jose.

Fred Weber's presentation has just been released too, so avail yourselves of this 440K Acrobat file.

Hammer will come in 2-way, 4-way and 8-way configurations, although it's primed as the long-term single-CPU successor to Athlon XP too. AMD used to call the 1 and 2-way version ClawHammer, although that particular codename along with Sledgehammer and Mikehammer, seems to have fallen of use. OK, we made the last one up.

AMD reckons that the "screaming IO" benefits of the LDT interconnect will dispel the usual performance questions that dog NUMA architectures. A 4CPU Hammer box will achieve 8GB memory throughput, and a cache miss on an "unloaded" system will be 140ns.

Hammer will provide sharp competition for Intel's Itanium, which has the drawback of a new instruction set. Hammer's great boast was x86 compatibility, but in the two years since it was announced at the 1999 Microprocessor Forum, pretty much everything that needs to be ported to Itanic has been ported. So AMD will have to compete on price and performance against McKinley systems in the second half of next year, and McKinley will presume beat it to market.

We're talking to AMD tomorrow, at an undisclosed location. Ie, neither AMD nor El Reg knows where it will be yet. This isn't, apparently, for security reasons. ®

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