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AMD ships Athlon 64 3000+ – officially

But where's the missing 512KB of cache?

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It's official. AMD yesterday added the desktop-oriented Athlon 64 3000+ to its price list, just days after the part began to appear in a variety of Far Eastern processor emporia.

The desktop Athlon 64 3000+ comes in at $218 in batches of 1000 processors, the same price as the notebook-oriented Athlon 64 3000+. As we've noted before, AMD's mobile Athlon 64s are essentially the same chips as the desktop breed, with the latter's Quiet 'n' Cool power-conservation technology simply re-branded with the former as PowerNow. Or maybe vice versa.

However, the desktop 3000+ contains three differences over the mobile 3000+. First, it has half the L2 cache, 512KB rather than 1MB, as per AMD's top-end 32-bit Athlon XP chips, codenamed 'Barton'. Second, it's clocked to 2GHz rather than 1.8GHz. Third, its on-chip memory controller supports 400MHz DDR SDRAM.

AMD's public roadmap features a chip due to ship sometime in the first six months of 2004, codenamed 'Newcastle'. Internal roadmaps suggest it's a 512KB L2 part, with 400MHz DDR support. Consequently, it's hard not to conclude that the new 3000+ is the first Newcastle part to ship.

Why reduce the cache? Most likely to reduce the cost, but increasing the number of dies per wafer and thus the potential yield. That ought to benefit AMD's bottom line and make it easier to get more Athlon 64s into mainstream PCs ahead of the arrival of 64-bit Windows XP. ®

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