AMD's 65nm transition hurdles explained

— 11:28 AM on January 12, 2007

We've already covered this story in the Shortbread, but it deserves some more attention. Penstar Systems has put together a pretty interesting article about AMD's transition to 65nm process technology. The company's first 65nm chips have little extra headroom and slower cache performance compared to their 90nm counterparts, and the article explores what's behind this somewhat unimpressive effort.

In short, Penstar Systems argues that AMD's Athlon 64 X2 processors are descendants of the 130nm Clawhammer chip, which wasn't really designed with a future transition to 65nm in mind. AMD supposedly entrusted the task of porting its chips to 65nm to a very small team, as well. Considering the company wanted to make provisions for potential cache size increases, the team just wasn't able to fully optimize the architecture for the new process and get cache speed up to scratch. The article goes into a lot more detail than that, though, and it also contains some interesting speculation about how AMD will handle the quad-core shift and competition with Intel in the future.

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