Launch Speeds and AMD Roadmap

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As expected, the Athlon MP processor launches today and is available in two steppings: 1.0 GHz and 1.2 GHz. An interesting note, AMD claims that Athlon MP based systems will be available from more than 50 manufacturers worldwide, with more than 20 of them offering systems NOW. Interestingly enough, on this list of immediately available systems, our own Monarch Computer is listed, as are Alienware and the dedicated server reseller Rackspace.

While I am sure that they have Athlon MP processors running at much high speeds than this, AMD is holding them back until the desktop Athlon 4 launch sometime around August. AMD hasn’t quite passed the Athlon processor on to the mortuary quite yet, as you will see tomorrow. The Athlon has one more release left in it and the Duron has a few.

There is a considerable amount of the AMD Press Release that focuses on the “stability of their infrastructure” as a platform. They aren’t talking about the stability of the systems themselves, instead of the Socket A platform. AMD wants to assure their business and hardware partners that they will be sticking with Socket A platform. In fact, AMD is still planning on using the 462-pin socket through 2002. This should put businesses that have grown tired of Intel’s constantly shifting server formats at ease.

Socket A will be the standard format for all AMD processors in the desktop, mobile, workstation and server market for a while to come. This means that current and future motherboards will be able to be upgraded on a much grander scale than their Intel counterparts. What does this mean? Well, at least tentatively, your current Socket A motherboard will work with the Palomino, Thoroughbred, Morgan, Appaloosa and even Barton processors when they are released. However, most users and readers of won’t have the same motherboard at the end of 2001, let alone the end of 2002, so this isn’t as important a factor for the end user as it is to a business that is purchasing servers.

AMD Athlon MP and AMD-760MP Chipset Technology - Chipsets 16

Appropriately titled Protecting Your Investment, this updated roadmap shows the future of the workstation and server platform in AMD’s plans. As you can see, our next release for the server/workstation market will be the Morgan core of the Duron processor for MP systems. Then, the Thoroughbred core of the Athlon will debut sometime in the first half of 2002, bring the .13-micron die shrink to AMD’s processors. I would also expect the Thoroughbred and beyond CPUs to have increased on-die cache as well. The Duron version of the Thoroughbred, the Appaloosa, will closely follow. Finally, look for the Barton core around the end of the year in 2002.

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