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AMD strikes back

Ronald Hanaki
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Intel may have just shot their wad. Blanks? ZDNet is reporting that AMD will fire back with ‘Clawhammer‘:

The Hammer family represents AMD’s eighth-generation processor, following the current Athlon. The Hammer architecture will offer much higher clock speeds, more advanced manufacturing processes and, most importantly, 64-bit addressing. The chip will include extensions to the X86 processor instruction set that will take it from 32-bit addressing to 64-bit addressing.

AMD is likely to begin producing the ClawHammer chip on its 0.18-micron manufacturing process. If so, the company will quickly transition it to a new 0.13-micron process, which promises chips with higher clock speeds and lower power consumption.

Intel isn’t alone in the race to 0.13 micron and 2 GHz. Mercy, they ain’t misbehavin’. We thought that Mustang was scrapped but the Athlon and Duron will get a touch of viagra:

These chips will be based on AMD’s Mustang processor core. The updated processor core will feature higher clock speeds, lower power transistors and will also incorporate AMD’s Power Now power management technology.

Despite AMD’s high expectations for it, the Mustang core has seen a few setbacks. Most recently, AMD scrapped plans to offer large cache-size server chips based on the new core, which can offer up to 1MB of integrated cache.

However, PC makers said they did not need the larger cache sizes of the chip for two-way processor configurations. Those PC makers, the AMD officials said, would prefer to use Palomino, which offers higher clock speeds and more reasonable cache-sizes and pricing.

AMD chairman and CEO Jerry Sanders has predicted that the chip would sample at 1.5GHz in January. However, AMD has now backed off that claim. Company officials said Monday that the projection was simply too aggressive. AMD now plans for Palomino to hit 1.33GHz in the first quarter and ship 1.5GHz in the second quarter of next year. A 1.7GHz Palomino is scheduled for the second half of 2001.

AMD plans to transition Palomino and Morgan from its current 0.18-micron process to a new 0.13-micron process in the first half of 2002. The resulting chips are code-named Thoroughbred and Appaloosa, respectively. AMD will change nothing about the chips besides their manufacturing process.

Palomino and Morgan are the Mustang-based Athlon and Duron, respectively. The article covers a lot of ground. AMD is taking no prisoners. Ooh, don’t it take your breath away?

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