A Look Into The Future
Here is a brief rundown of what you can expect within the next two years from AMD and Intel, taken straight from their respective roadmaps. I am only going to be talking about their desktop processors as that is the only concern we have in this article. The server/workstation and mobile segments are totally different issues altogether. Please keep in mind, however, that these roadmaps are subject to change over time.
As far as high-end processors go, in Quarter 2 of 2002 AMD plans to move to a 0.13-micron chip with their 2200+ (1.8GHz) and 2000+ (1.66GHz) AthlonXP Thoroughbred processors. Then somewhere in the second half of 2002 they plan to upgrade the AthlonXP to the Barton core which bumps the processor from 256K to 512K L2 cache. Both the Thoroughbred and the Barton will have a 133MHz FSB, however, there are rumors that AMD are thinking of bumping it up to 166MHz. This, however, is quite unlikely and all signs are currently pointing to both the Thoroughbread and the Barton having a 133MHz FSB.
In the early part of 2003, AMD will be releasing their 64-bit processor, the ClawHammer which will be a 0.13-micron part and in the second half of 2003 they will be shrinking the ClawHammer to a 0.09-micron die. Final specifications about the ClawHammer are yet to be confirmed, however, we know it will be a 64-bit part and feature HyperTransport and AGP3.0.
In the value segment, AMD plan to keep the Duron on the Palomino core till Quarter 3 of 2002 , when they will be releasing their Appaloosa core that not only shrinks the die to 0.13, but also bumps the FSB up to 133MHz (266MHz DDR).
In the high-end segment, Intel plans on bumping their current Pentium 4 Northwood core up to an FSB of 533MHz with 512K L2 cache in the second quarter of 2002. By Quarter 3 they will have their 2.53GHz Pentium 4 processor out which features the same 533MHz FSB and 512KB cache.
As far as the value market is concerned, Intel plans on moving their Celeron to the Pentium 4 core with a 400MHz FSB by Quarter 4. Intel plans to have moved all of their Celerons from the Pentium III core to the Pentium 4 core by Quarter 4.
- Making Sense of it all
As you can see from the information given above, Intel are moving straight to a 533MHz FSB and 512KB L2 cache, while AMD will most probably still have 133MHz (266MHz DDR) FSB processors till at least the early part of 2003. Even with the release of the ClawHammer in Quarter 1 of 2003, we don't know how it will stand up against the competition from Intel since it is based on a whole new architecture. While shrinking the die will enable both companies to release faster processors that produce less heat, that's about where it ends as far as AMD is concerned. The Pentium 4 will be able to benefit from faster memory while AMD's Athlon range will still be bottlenecked by its slow front side bus.