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Leaked AMD southbridge details yield 'Fusion' CPU snippets

Deep sleeper with Dash

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AMD's next-gen southbridge chip, called the SB800 and revealed yesterday, is being designed with the company's 'Fusion' processor in mind.

Details of the part have just appeared on Spanish-language site ChileHardware. It posted an AMD slide that provides a run-down of the SB800's features. Most are the customary speed and capacity boosts.

So, the on-board Ethernet controller will gain Gigabit throughput. The SB800 will be able to connect to 6Gb/s SATA drives, and it will be able to hots up to for PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 slots on its own. The southbridge's USB handler can support 14 2.0 ports, up from the 12 that the current southbridge, the SB700, can run.

There's no mention of USB 3.0, as you might expect given the SB800's Q2 2009 launch window - clearly AMD doesn't think the 5Gb/s data-transfer is going to be in sufficient demand at that point.

AMD's slide indicates the SB800 will support higher-speed connections to a system's northbridge and, beyond it, the CPU. It sees a doubling of bandwidth from the SB700's 2.5GHz PCIe bus to 5GHz.

That's part of the chip's ability to deal with more powerful processors and to compete with Intel's HyperTransport-style QuickPath Interconnect bus that will debut later this year with the 'Nehalem' chips.

AMD's alternative to Nehalem is Fusion, a new processor design that also has the ability to sport an on-board GPU. Power efficiency will clearly be a key component of Fusion - AMD's slide says the SB800 will support the new CPU's C6 sleep state, a deep level of snoozing that Intel will introduce with its Centrino 2 Core 2 Duo processors.

Corporates will note that the SB800 includes a pair of embedded controllers, one dedicated to Desktop and mobile Architecture for System Hardware (Dash) spec developed by the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) to aid remote hardware management - an alternative to Intel's Advanced Management Technology (AMT) chipset technology.

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