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ViN86
06-01-06, 02:12 PM
AMD counters Intel's Conroe with dual-socket gaming platform
Wolfgang Gruener June 1, 2006 17:58

Sunnyvale (CA) - AMD used a meeting with the press and analysts to provide some long-term information about its product strategy. Part of the roadmap is an answer to Intel's flagship processor Core 2 Extreme: AMD will launch a new platform with two sockets for two dual-core processors, handing gamers four physical cores.

In case you haven't read it at TG Daily before: 2006 will be recognized as one of the few years so far where fierce competition between AMD and Intel sparks one of the most interesting years for anyone who uses computers for more than preparing tax reports. Just yesterday, Intel demonstrated its Core 2 Extreme running at 2.93 GHz and lots of headroom for performance increases that are likely to pave the way into a whole new world of gaming and multimedia experience.

As expected, AMD has been working on an answer - and while the company does not have a new architecture, the manufacturer scales the current Athlon64 platform until the arrival of 65 nm production generation in Q4 2006 or Q1 2007. At least on the high end, the company believes that it will retain the performance crown with a system the company calls "4x4."

No, unfortunately this term does not describe four quad-core processor within one system. We are talking more about a "2x2" system - a dual-socket platform that is designed for two dual-core processors. The company did not provide a specific launch date, but mentioned that systems with four physical cores will become available during the second half of this year.

AMD justified the move not only with the increased performance that can be expected from Intel's processors, but also with firm's "roots in the enthusiast market." Product manager Brent Berry told TG Daily that "AMD saw significant success with the FX" line recently and felt that it was important that "the top end" gained performance. He did not provide exact performance or benchmark numbers, but he believes that the "dual-socket platform will be the fastest gaming platform by the end of this year."

It is unclear how capable AMD's 4x4 will be especially in the gaming segment, as increased threading still represents a challenge for many software developers. However, 4x4 is likely to have an immediate impact on computing performance as it will feature two independent DDR2 memory controllers, which, at least in theory, will double the memory bandwidth of the system.



http://www.tgdaily.com/2006/06/01/amd_dual-socket_dual_core_platform/

i just found this over at THG. says AMD is planning on going to 4 cores to overwhelm the conroe. sure this may provide more computing power, but lets look at it realistically. until games are multithreaded, wouldnt this be a waste of cores?

i dont know, maybe the numbers will speak for themselves.

Demon_82
06-01-06, 02:14 PM
Intel has also plans to launch four cores CPUs, both brands had them in their roadmaps way before the Conroe started to be publicited, I don't see it as a counterattack.

jAkUp
06-01-06, 02:16 PM
A single Conroe should still be the gaming king, this is not going to benefit gaming much right now.

retsam
06-01-06, 03:16 PM
gawd, i hate this marketing game....2=good 4=better..... what do they think we are stupid ....

nutball
06-01-06, 03:55 PM
It could be faster - but way more expensive. Not the best counter imo.

Has the price been announced?

nutball
06-01-06, 03:56 PM
Intel has also plans to launch four cores CPUs,

This isn't about 4 core CPUs, it's about dual socket boards. Dual sockets and quad cores = 8 cores per board. Twice as many sockets gives you twice as many cores :)

Overkill, but then so is four GPUs :)

Banko
06-01-06, 04:22 PM
This isn't about 4 core CPUs, it's about dual socket boards. Dual sockets and quad cores = 8 cores per board. Twice as many sockets gives you twice as many cores :)

Overkill, but then so is four GPUs :)
I don't get what is new about this though. You can get nforce pro motherboards that support two dual core opterons, and they even support sli.

This isn't new, problem is the Conroe is wooping ass, and there will be a quad-core Conroe from Intel supposedly Q1 2007.

tieros
06-01-06, 04:33 PM
Until Conroe, AMD dominated in almost every aspect of CPU architecture. Now Intel has produced a chip with a better IPC ratio than AMD. So what does AMD do? They release a platform that leverages their two primary strengths to make sure they retain the enthusiast market.

AMD's technology allows them to connect two sockets together more efficiently than Intel can connect two cores on the same CPU together. So now you can have 4 cores in two sockets efficiently sharing cache, with 2 independent memory controllers providing double the bandwidth.

And when the quad core CPUs are released, just drop a couple in for 8-way goodness :D

I wanted AMD to do this a long time ago, and go the dual socket route as opposed to the dual core x2. Now we'll have both (nana2)

Now all I need is for someone to release a 4x4 mobo with SLI in an mATX form factor so I can combine 2 OCed x2 3800s with 2 OCed 7900GTs, and rule the world from my lunchbox :D

tieros
06-01-06, 04:40 PM
I don't get what is new about this though. You can get nforce pro motherboards that support two dual core opterons, and they even support sli.

This isn't new, problem is the Conroe is wooping ass, and there will be a quad-core Conroe from Intel supposedly Q1 2007.

The Opterons are socket 940, require registered memory, and the 2xx series that you need for a 2S solution cost a fortune.

The 4x4 uses socket AM2, standard DDR-2, and cheap x2 processors. It lowers the price barrier to get enthusiasts on board.

sillyeagle
06-01-06, 04:48 PM
From the prices I have seen you are already going to pay AMD twice as much to get less performance than Conroe, and now AMD expects us to double up the doubled price with a second chip? By god it is a 2x2 setup!

slick
06-01-06, 04:49 PM
This is an entirely worthless counterattack.

Not only will the dual socketed motherboards probably be expensive, you have to buy 2 processors, both of which, if you want to surpass Conroe's performance, will be very expensive as well.

Banko
06-01-06, 04:59 PM
Only way AMD can beat Conroe is if that supposed anti-hyperthreading thing I read about here happens.

TimeOut
06-01-06, 05:01 PM
How will these two sockets be interconnected? Using a coherent HyperTransport link?
If so, these processors will be special Athlon X2s with two HT links (one normal HT, one coherent HT) instead of just one.

tieros
06-01-06, 05:11 PM
I'm confident that 2 x2 3800s at stock clock speeds will handily beat a single E6700 (the highest announced Conroe) and be within 50 bucks on price.

Any of the higher clocked X2s will eat it for lunch. And in a 2S configuration, are likely to have tons of overclocking headroom, too.

The motherboard will be more expensive than single socket AMD mobos, but since AMD mobos require fewer external components, they still may be price competitive.

I've waited a long time for AMD to do this, so yes, it's definitely possible that I'm a bit irrationally exhuberant :D

tieros
06-01-06, 05:22 PM
How will these two sockets be interconnected? Using a coherent HyperTransport link?
If so, these processors will be special Athlon X2s with two HT links (one normal HT, one coherent HT) instead of just one.

On the socket 939 Athlons, I know the HT link was not cache coherent. But I was unable to get a definitive answer about the AM2 versions, even from AMD.

My earlier assumption was that they were going to use 12 of the 16 lanes on each CPU for cache coherency, and group the remaining 8 to route to the peripherals, but that would require HT 3.0.

There were a lot of unused pins on the 939 processors, so maybe they still had some leftover on the AM2 after adding DDR-2 support, and managed to add some goodies :D

I just hope they release some technical details soon!

TimeOut
06-01-06, 05:47 PM
On the socket 939 Athlons, I know the HT link was not cache coherent. But I was unable to get a definitive answer about the AM2 versions, even from AMD.

My earlier assumption was that they were going to use 12 of the 16 lanes on each CPU for cache coherency, and group the remaining 8 to route to the peripherals, but that would require HT 3.0.

There were a lot of unused pins on the 939 processors, so maybe they still had some leftover on the AM2 after adding DDR-2 support, and managed to add some goodies :D

I just hope they release some technical details soon!

My guess is that since this is for the enthusiast market, maybe this dual socket will only support the new Athlon FX for AM2 processors. So, this new Athlon FX for AM2 will have the extra coherent HyperTransport link required for dual socket interconnection.

Daneel Olivaw
06-01-06, 10:57 PM
This 2x2 thing is ok to be brought out now, because from a developper's point of view, the difference between coding single thread vs dual thread is much greater than between dual and multi. As soon as you have the hang of running two threads, it gets reasonnable to make many many threads, at that point, 8 cores will become linearily quicker than 6, 4 and 2.

3 cores is no problem either, there's nothing in computer design or coding that makes it a bad idea to have odd numbers of cores.

Developpers are not currently designing software to run on 2 threads because current cpus are dual cores, current developpers (me included) are threading their apps as much as it makes sense and is usefull, 2, 5 or 100 threads... it all depends on the purpose.

Currently, multithreaded games are running one thread for sound and one thread for everything else, which is a pretty lazy way of doing things. What we're going to see more and more is software and games where each sprite will have a thread, and the environment will be in one common pool of memory where these threads interact. An example is a game I did at school where you would play multiplayer and the server would allocate one thread to each player that connected.

In this sense, 4 cores will be quicker than two.


twice quicker, except for bus/interconnect or whatnot overhead.

ViN86
06-01-06, 11:41 PM
well, from a marketing point of view, i can see how AMD expects to win the hearts of many back with this move. the benchmarking programs, many of which are moving to become multithreaded, will definitely show AMD trouncing the competition if they have four cores running against two.

however, i dont really see how they intend to fool the enthusiasts like us. sure, we like to have more cores because it increases our e-pen0z's exponentially (at least i know mine would increase tremendously, lol), but we understand the fact that a single threaded app is not going to benefit anymore than a it would from a dual core cpu.

but, if we start seeing programmers make multithreaded games (ie SMP in Quake4, which isnt totally amazing, but impressive nonetheless), this idea will take off like a bat out of hell.

i gotta feeling we are going to see some multithreaded games hit the stores soon and we will see dual and quad core machines tear it up. :)

nutball
06-02-06, 02:40 AM
No, but to be faster than Conroe you need fast AMD CPUs.
Four Cores is not a killer for games... you don't gain a lot. One Conroe should still be the better choice.
And even a FX-62 doesn't beat a Conroe... So with cheaper AMDs there is no chance at all. And two FX-62 are expensive^^
I would say you need at least 2.6GHz AMDs (for gaming) and these are expensive and you need to get two.

You're confusing price with cost. AMD currently have the fastest parts on the market, and they're pricing them appropriately. AMD are price gouging, because certain people will pay $1000 simply for bragging rights on their processor.

But I don't think it's sensible to extrapolate future FX-62 prices (when Conroe actually makes it to market) from the current situation where AMD rules the roost.

bkswaney
06-02-06, 02:55 AM
One things for sure. Intel is kickin that @ss in the dual core "pricing."
If I were not going conroe I would grab a 805D for under 120 bucks
and clock it up to around 4ghz.

It seems intel wants the overclockers and gamers back bad these days.
AMD better do some major price cutting soon or get left in the dust.
An X2 3800+ is 300 bucks.
A 805D is under 120 bucks and the proformance overclocked is second to none.
Best bang for the buck on the market.

200 bucks for a 805D and mobo.
400 bucks for a 3800+ and mobo.

What would u buy? ;)

AMD better start price cutting soon because intel conroe is
the top cpu now. Or will be next month. It's the only thing amd can do
at this point.

Just my 2 cents worth. :D

coldpower27
06-02-06, 02:55 AM
You're confusing price with cost. AMD currently have the fastest parts on the market, and they're pricing them appropriately. AMD are price gouging, because certain people will pay $1000 simply for bragging rights on their processor.

But I don't think it's sensible to extrapolate future FX-62 prices (when Conroe actually makes it to market) from the current situation where AMD rules the roost.

I think it's pretty safe to assume the Athlon FX 62 is what will be going against the X6800 for now, AMD isn't going to update their enthusiast CPU in a mere 2 months....

So the FX will remain at the 1031US price point FX's tended to be. Not to mention the platform seems to only allow FX to have the ability to work in Dual Socket motherboards.

nutball
06-02-06, 03:53 AM
So the FX will remain at the 1031US price point FX's tended to be.

tended to be ... when AMD had no credible competition at or below that price-point.

Look back to the K7 era, AMD was much cheaper than Intel, because the Intel chips performed better. AMD couldn't compete on absolute performance, but they could compete on price. Their most expensive chip was what... $300? Whilst Intel's was ~$1000. Wind the clock forward 18 months the performance situation is reversed, and guess what? AMD costs more than Intel, because they have the performance crown and they can charge what they want!

Unless people are really going to pay over the odds simply to have four cores, then it's going to come down to pricing. If 2 x FX-62 are needed to outclass Conroe in real-world games then AMD will have to price FX-62 at whatever price makes 2 x FX-62 the same price as the top-of-the-range Conroe. Less than that if 2 x FX-62 < 1 x Conroe in performance. Otherwise they won't sell anything!

See what I'm getting at? The (performance) competitive landscape is changing radically with Conroe, so there's really no reason not to expect prices not to change radically too.

Alaa
06-02-06, 04:04 AM
this idea is gr8 especially with 2 K8L proc.,however its only for FX procs. starting from FX62 and up as reported by dailytech

Superfly
06-02-06, 04:41 AM
Kentsfield is Intels quad core and is out in Q1 07 - also a 3.2 Ghz Conroe is due before the end of the year:

Intel representatives just contacted DailyTech with the following information:

The Core 2 Extreme processor (Conroe based) will ship at 2.93GHz at Core 2 Duo launch. We will also have a 3.2GHz version by end of the year. And as you know, the Quad Core enthusiast SKU, Kentsfield, is planned for Q1'07.

Several days ago, we published details of Intel's Core 2 Duo roadmap, although the roadmap did not have information about a 3.2GHz Conroe. Intel's Extreme Edition processors typically launch at a $1,000 USD price point, and then are quickly phased out in time for the next generation.

The 2.93GHz Conroe processor will ship as the Core 2 Duo X6800 processor. Previous Intel roadmaps have also confirmed that the launch date for Conroe, the desktop Core 2 Duo processor, is slated for July 23, 2006.

lightman
06-02-06, 09:26 AM
As soon as you have the hang of running two threads, it gets reasonnable to make many many threads, at that point, 8 cores will become linearily quicker than 6, 4 and 2.

Err. No.

Even 8 thread would probabily not see a linear increase in speed.

I know what I'm talking about. I admin and program clusters for a living, so I have quite a hang on parallel architectures and programming ;)

3 cores is no problem either, there's nothing in computer design or coding that makes it a bad idea to have odd numbers of cores.

Well, it depends on the algorithm you're implementing. There are algorithms that only work (really) well with a nr.proc. = 2^i ...

Currently, multithreaded games are running one thread for sound and one thread for everything else, which is a pretty lazy way of doing things.

Indeed, but you have to consider that 1) it's a really easy parallelization, and 2) most game developers aren't really used to multi cpu systems, and it take ssome time to adapt...

What we're going to see more and more is software and games where each sprite will have a thread, and the environment will be in one common pool of memory where these threads interact.

Hmm. I'm not so sure that that would be the ideal parallelization... That said, I don't code games, so I can't really speak here... :)

In this sense, 4 cores will be quicker than two. twice quicker, except for bus/interconnect or whatnot overhead.

Yes, with a heavily threaded app, yes. The problem is that most games out there aren't heavily threaded. Hell, NFS:MW even works better if run on a single core... ;) ...

Given the kind of software out there, I don't see AMD's counter attack to Conroe really effective. Not now. Maybe in a year, but then Intel will have quad cores available... hmm...