AMD to target Atom with... Athlon
Old brand, new market
The first thrust of AMD's two-pronged attack on Intel's Atom processor will be launched in November, leaked roadmap slides have revealed.
Last week, we noted after one such bean spillage that November will see the introduction of "AMD Ultra-Value Client (UVC)" processors.
Now, we assumed this was a reference to Geode parts, which have to date been described by AMD as its UVC chippery.
We were wrong. More recent leaks reveal that the chip maker's revamping UVC to take on Atom, specifically Intel's desktop 'Diamondville' processor, shipping now as the 1.6GHz single-core Atom 230 and soon as the dual-core 330.
AMD's slides, posted by Spanish-language site CHW, show the new UVC range will comprise two CPUs: the single-core Athlon 2650e and the dual-core Athlon X2 3250e.
Both CPUs will be paired with AMD's 740 chipsets, and despite the November launch, the 2650e is available to buy already. The 3250e will ship in Q4, the slides say.
The dual-core part will consume up to 22W and run at 1.5GHz. The 2650e is clocked at an Atom-matching 1.6GHz but consumes 15W. Both CPUs have 512KB of L2 cache per core.
Compare that with the 4W TDP Intel quotes for the 230, though the chipset it usually comes with, the 945GC is rated at 22W and you can add 3W more for the southbridge chip.
AMD's slides also boast that while the Atom 230 offers a performance below what AMD classes as a "traditional PC user experience" - whatever that is - its two CPUs perform significantly better than that benchmark.
The UVC CPUs will be sold only to OEMs, so it's clearly being pitched at makers of Small, Cheap Computers. Past tests have show that some old Athlons do outperform the 230, so AMD is undoubtedly hoping its offerings will win over SCC makers and their customers.
"UVC ultra-value solutions provide the PC user experience that customers expect in a power envelope that enables a cost-optimised system," says AMD.
Unless, of course, the dual-core Diamondville, with its four virtual cores - thanks to HyperThreading - can up and the ante further.
The slide also refers to notebook versions of the two UVC desktop chips: "Similar processors are available in S1g1 for notebook UVC configurations." Alas, the slides provide no further details - maybe more will leak out soon.
That's netbooks and nettops taken care of - what about mobile internet devices (MIDs), also a target of Atom? Well will the MID platform thus far failing to catch buyers' attention the way that SCCs have, there's no great rush to release. However, AMD is expected to announce its 'Bobcat' chip in the near future, and that's thought to be aimed at MIDs.
Thanks to reader Felipe for the tip
re: Excellent ... but
A lot of OEM parts show up at places like NewEgg. It just means it won't come in a Retail box with a bundled cooler.
One thing that's good is you will be able to get a motherboard with DVI or HDMI output which apparently is something that Intel does not allow the Atom to do. The 780g might make a very nice HTPC.
Excellent ... but
"The UVC CPUs will be sold only to OEMs"
*thought bubble pops*
Now let's see how AMD's marketing team perform ...
A 15W TDP Athlon 64 CPU coupled with the 740G (or 780G even at 11.4W load/1W idle) and SB700 will be good competition for the 4W Atom + 22W i945 + ICH in terms of power consumption whilst outperforming it graphically and computationally.
Unless AMD have done work on package sizes however, it will use up a lot more real estate, which might limit this chips usefulness to VSFF PCs like the EeeBox.
Shame that the 740G loses the HD decode acceleration that the 780G gained. The 780V doesn't have it either. There is an M780G that might have a lower TDP however, but confusingly articles suggest it has a higher TDP than the desktop 780G... maybe the chipset could be underclocked!