AMD lets slip a few tidbits about new CPUs

AMD was a big presence at Quakecon this year, making the most of its sponsorship of the event. The folks from AMD were keen to emphasize the company’s commitment to gaming, reminding the world of its efforts to work with major game developers like id Software and Crytek, and also talking up the suitability of Opteron systems as game servers.

We took the opportunity to pry into AMD’s plans for the immediate future. Among the tidbits we unearthed is word that AMD will be filling out its line of Socket 939-based processors with lower-cost products, leaving Socket 754 to the low end and the Sempron. We couldn’t get them to commit to a specific timetable for the introduction of these new parts, but I’d probably expect them in the next few months.

AMD still says it’s progressing well on its transition to a 90nm fab process (indeed, it seems the first 90nm mobile parts are now shipping). Unlike Intel, AMD will not be trying to produce a significantly redesigned chip as its first 90nm part; the first 90nm processors from AMD should be very similar to its current CPUs. The company continues to maintain that the power and thermal characteristics of its 90nm processors are quite decent.

Also, interestingly enough, the first 90nm parts from AMD will not be high-end parts. Instead, AMD will transition its less expensive, higher volume products to 90nm first. This move makes sense from an economics standpoint, but it also raises questions about whether the move to 90nm will allow significantly higher clock speeds than current 130nm Opterons and Athlon 64s. We’ll see.

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