AMD Shrinks Athlon CPUs to 65nm

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Chipmaker AMD is doing its best to take some air of Intel’s sails by announcing the immediate availability o Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processors built using a 65nm process. the new processors are essentially AMD’s existing Athlon 64 line scaled down from their original 90nm scale: the smaller size means AMD can manufacture more chips per wafer, and each chip offers better performance per watt of power.

"With AMD’s established leadership in desktop and server performance-per-watt, both businesses and consumers can benefit greatly from our energy-efficient AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processors," said Bob Brewer, corporate VP of AMD’s Desktop Division, in a statement. "Customers continue to demand solutions that focus on low-power consumption and quieter operation. AMD is responding by increasing manufacturing efficiency to deliver on the next generation of energy-efficient desktop processors, enabling OEMS to innovate using highly reliable AMD64 processors and without compromising performance."

AMD’s new 5000+, 4800+, 4400+, and 4000+ 65nm Athlon 64 dual-core processors are priced at $301, $271, $214, and $169, respectively, in lots of 1,000 units: those prices match what AMD was asking for the chips’ 90nm predecessors, which is sure to encourage computer makers to switch to the 65nm chips in a hurry. The 5000-series chips ring at 2.6 GHz; the 4800 series run at 2.5 GHz, the 4400s at 2.3 GHz, and the 400 series at 2.1 GHz.

Benchmarks on AMD’s 65nm chips aren’t in yet, but early reports have the CPUs consuming less power than Intel’s Core 2 Duo offerings when idle, while requiring somewhat more power than the Core 2 Duo when running flat out: potentially good news for makers of laptops and portable systems, but maybe not as appealing to makers of servers and other always-cranking systems. Computer makers expected to offer systems using AMD’s new 65nm chips by the first quarter of 2007 include Acer, Packard-Bell, Hewlett-Packard, and Tsinghua Tongfang: other manufacturers are expected to jump on board shortly. AMD plans to complete phrase out the 90nm editions of its Athlon chips by the second half of 2007, at which point it will also be rolling out 65nm single-core Athlon and Sempron CPUs.

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