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AMD adds 525KB L2 Athlon 64s to roadmap

Newcastle, Winchester

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AMD's anticipated introduction of low-end Athlon 64 chips next year appears to confirm reports that it will indeed deliver future Athlon XP parts using crippled versions of its Hammer core.

Earlier this year, AMD roadmaps began to show two products, codenamed 'Paris' and 'Victoria', which featured 256KB of L2 cache. Fabbed at 130nm and 90nm, respectively, they were initially heralded as low-end Athlon 64 parts.

Over the summer, rumours began to circulate that these processors were in fact future Athlon XPs built not out of the old K7 architecture but the new K8 design - the basis for AMD's 64-bit product line. In each processor, the 64-bit AMD64 technology will be disabled.

Such a move makes sense. If AMD can use one architecture to span a range of 32-bit and 64-bit products, it can target a variety of price points and markets more cost effectively than it can with multiple architectures.

But one doubt remained: might Paris and Victoria still be low-end AMD64 chips? Those doubts may now have been put to rest. According to a report on French site x86 Secrets, two new parts have appeared on AMD's internal roadmap: 'Newcastle' and 'Winchester'.

Both will offer full AMD64 support yet contain only 512KB of L2 cache. They are fabbed at 130nm and 90nm, respectively. While Newcastle will be offered in 754- and 939-pin versions, Winchester will only ship in a 939-pin package.

In short, both are clearly the low-end Athlon 64s that Paris and Victoria were originally assumed to be.

The 939-pin version of the current 'Clawhammer' Athlon 64 chip is set to ship in Q2 2004. Newcastle will ship in the same timeframe.

'San Diego' the 90nm version of the 939-pin Athlon 64 is now expected sometime in the second half of next year, as previously roadmapped. It will contain 1MB of L2 cache. Winchester will ship in the same timeframe as San Diego.

Curiously, Paris, which was earlier this year scheduled for a Q1 2004 release now appears to have been put back to Q4 2004. If it is indeed only a 32-bit part, it will still use a 754-pin board. And if it has been delayed, it's presumably because AMD believes there's still legs in the 32-bit Barton core. It also means Victoria's release has been pushed back to 2005. ®

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