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Semprons to match Athlon XP performance...

...with slower, cooler cores

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Details of AMD's upcoming 32-bit microprocessor line, Sempron, have emerged courtesy of motherboard maker Jetway.

AMD has said officially that the first Semprons will ship in H2 2004, so any time from now on, in other words. However, it's believed that the company has an August ship-date in mind.

The first Semprons are expected to be Socket A parts. Jetway's site reveals the chips are fabbed at 130nm and contain 256KB of L2 cache. Their cores are run at 1.6V, down from the top-end Athlon XPs' 1.65V. They support 166MHz frontside bus clocks, so they will work with 333MHz DDR memory.

The site lists six Semprons running from 2200+ to 2800+. The clock multipliers provided yield core clock frequencies of 1.5GHz (2200+) to 2GHz (2800+). That's impressive in as much as the Athlon XP 2800+ with double the cache and the same FSB clock has to run at 2.25GHz to yield the same performance rating.

In short, Sempron yields better performance per clock than the older, more cache rich CPU family. That bodes well for the parts' thermal characteristics, if you can get the same performance from a slower chip.

AMD is expected to follow the initial Sempron release with a Socket 754 version later this quarter, along with a number of mobile parts. Like the Socket 939 Semprons believed to have been scheduled for Q1 2005 availability, the Socket 754 parts will essentially be Athlon 64 chips with reduced cache and AMD64 support turned off or burned out. ®

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