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DDR systems available now—or later

Scott Wasson
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I think this screenshot of the news at the AMD Zone about sums it up:

Utter chaos.

The Register reported earlier in the week that a last-minute problem was delaying products based on the AMD 760 chipset. Despite AMD’s denials, Mike Magee and his posse o’ British blokes are sticking to their guns. The Register maintains the 760—particularly in Gigabyte form—isn’t ready for prime time just yet:

A mobo specialist at Computer 2000, one of the UK’s largest distributors – listed on Gigabyte’s web site – said he had ‘never heard of the GA-7DX’, adding that ‘Gigabyte are a nightmare who never tell us anything.’

And finally we double checked with NEC’s UK telesales operation:

“We’re doing in house testing now. The earliest the Direction A+ will be available is the end of the month.”

Meanwhile, Micron is selling DDR-based systems online. Also, Dean Kent checked out the delay rumors and posted a note saying they are most likely incorrect.

For the record, when we were in the process of putting together our 760 chipset review, AMD didn’t tell us 760-based systems would be available “immediately.” Here’s what we wrote based on what we heard from AMD:

AMD expects 760-based systems with DDR SDRAM to be available starting in November, with widespread availabilty coming after the first of the year. We expect to see 760-based OEM systems hit the shelves slightly ahead of retail motherboards and processors.

The Register originally reported that Gigabyte had encountered a show-stopper problem with the chipset which could delay AMD’s schedule for the 760. Their follow-up article concentrates on whether 760-based products are “immediately available”, which is a bit different issue. On that front, clearly there has been some miscommunication between AMD and its partners and/or between AMD and the press about the 760’s schedule. Whether or not a show-stopping bug has delayed 760-based products, I don’t know. But it seems unlikely.

Then there’s the supposed delay in the multiprocessor version of the chipset, the 760MP, which is another issue altogether. Here’s the word I got from AMD on that issue: their plan is to have Athlon SMP systems available in the second quarter of 2001. The chipset will thus be available “prior to the system introduction date.”

Update: Brandon at the ‘Squad has a small article on the 760 delay situation online now. He reports:

According to our source, under certain conditions the 761 Northbridge will generate a clock glitch into the CPU that may cause the system to hang. To resolve this, motherboard manufacturers will have to integrate an external circuit to filter out the glitch.

If true, it sounds like a minor revision to 760 motherboard is in order. I’m unsure how much effect such changes should have on launch dates.

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