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AMD Athlon 64 doubles up for desktop, mobile roles

Same chip

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Are AMD's desktop and mobile Athlon 3200+ chips the same processor? It certainly looks that way. Priced identically, both feature curiously similar-sounding power conservation technologies.

As you'd expect from a notebook-oriented Athlon, the mobile 3200+ features PowerNow!, which throttles down the processor's core voltage and clock frequency according to CPU load.

The desktop 3200+, on the other hand, offers what AMD has dubbed "Cool 'n' Quiet" technology. Here's how the company describes it: C&Q "enables frequency and voltage switching on demand designed to reduce power and fan speed". The fans aren't directly controlled by the CPU - there's no circuitry specific to that function - instead they're "thermally-controlled", automatically slowing down when the chip runs cooler.

Now if that doesn't sound like PowerNow! we don't know what does.

It's worth bearing in mind that the mobile parts announced today are aimed at desktop replacement notebooks - AMD will have versions aimed at thin and light systems next year, said company chairman Jerry Sanders. Presumably that's when 90nm parts come to market - a point confirmed by Bill Siegle, senior VP and technology operations chief.

The price for both the desktop and mobile 3200+ is $417 in batches of 1000 - there's a mobile 3000+ part at $278, too. Mobile chips are traditionally more expensive than desktop equivalents, so it's hard not to see this price parity as a sign that the two CPUs are identical.

The chips are identical in other respects: both have 1MB of on-die L2 cache, both are fabbed at 130nm using nine-layer copper interconnects, low-k dielectric insulation and silicon-on-insulator technology. Both support a single-channel DDR SDRAM memory controller and a single HyperTransport link. Both use 754-pin packages; the mobile part also supporting a 'lidless' package. Oh, and unlike the desktop version, it's "compatible with today's most popular wireless LAN solutions", but since that has little to do with the CPU, why wouldn't it be? ®

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