As you would expected at any manufacturer's showcase, there was pimpin' going on. Naturally, AMD was excited by their upcoming processors. The Duron will be replaced by Morgan; a processor designed to be faster, smaller and cooler, but still be built upon the 0.18 micron process. The Thunderbird will be followed by a processor code-named Palomino. Like Morgan, the Palomino is built upon a 0.18 micron die.
In the first half of next year, we should see the siblings of Morgan and Palomino; Thoroughbred and Appaloosa respectively. They will be built upon the cutting-edge 0.13 micron process.
The Best of the Rest
AMD also touched a little on their HyperTransport technology; "The I/O Accelerator". They showed how it could be used anywhere in the I/O chain from webservers and TCP-switches all the way to desktop PC's to speed up data transfers.
The little slot where ISA slots used to be, the ACR, was also discussed. The Audio Communications Riser allows a cost-effective (but with a significant hit on the CPU) approach to combining modems, soundcards and network cards into one slot. The open standard ACR was contrasted with the Intel backed and proprietary CNR.
For many in the audience, the X86-64 technology presentation didn't mean much to their business. But the Hammer series of processors could open up a fourth battlefront with Intel when 64-bit computing takes center stage. The benefit of Hammer over Itanium is that Hammer processors will run 32-bit code and the Itanium won't. In other words, you probably won't have to purchase all new software.
AMD concluded the tech presentation with a discussion of their PowerNow technology for mobile applications. Where Intel's SpeedStep technology automatically drops CPU speed when the notebook is running on battery, PowerNow is supposed to sense the task running and adjust the CPU speed accordingly. If you are just doing basic word processing, you don't need to be running the CPU at full speed. It will drop CPU speed to conserve the battery, but resume if a task requires extra CPU speed.
Being a recent convert to AMD, I found much of their presentation to be informative. As mentioned earlier, Part 2 of this feature will take a look at what their partners brought to the show. The letters "DDR" could be seen everywhere ;-)
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