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AMD Hardware

AMD Launches First 45nm Shanghai CPUs 264

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the steady-progress dept.
arcticstoat writes "The wait for AMD's next-gen CPUs is finally over, as the company has now officially launched its first 45nm 'Shanghai' Opteron chips for servers and workstations. 'AMD's move to a 45nm process relies on immersion lithography, where a refractive fluid fills the gap between the lens and the wafer, which AMD says will result in 'dramatic performance and performance-per-watt gains.' It's also enabled AMD to increase the maximum clock speed of the Opterons from 2.3GHz with the Barcelona core to 2.7GHz with the Shanghai core. Shanghai chips also feature more cache than their predecessors, with 6MB of Level 3 cache bumping the total up to 8MB, and the chips share the same cache architecture as Barcelona CPUs, with a shared pool of Level 3 cache and an individual allocation of Level 2 cache for each core.'"
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AMD Launches First 45nm Shanghai CPUs

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  • Oh please. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moryath (553296) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:24AM (#25747011)

    The two companies take turns one-upping each other for the bleeding edge, but every time (10 years running) I've specced out a mid-range (home gamer, single CPU motherboard) to low-end (grandma's email/photo machine) machine, AMD's been the way to go. It's a lot like trying to decide which company's video boards to pick if you're trying to make a game machine without breaking the bank.

    Some people are Intel partisans, some people AMD partisans. Benching them and looking at spec, I've consistently found that AMD's got faster chips (for the same $) up to the "sweet spot" in the curve where price starts shooting upwards during the times I've been buying, but I also know there were times I was not in the market when Intel had done a price cut and AMD hadn't caught up.

    I'm not going to call someone an idiot for their CPU choice, as it's a long-term purchase decision that has to be balanced with other factors (motherboard choice, RAM, video board, power concerns, cooling solution, etc) anyways. In fact, I recommend consumers try to stay OFF the "bleeding edge" because they're basically throwing money away on it; even if you buy the latest, hottest chip right from the factory it's obsolete by the time you get it home. Your best bet is looking at the curve, because there's always a spot (usually between $150 and $250) where the price starts to jump up exponentially for only an incrementally "faster" product. Buy at the spot beyond which the relationship between price and performance fails to be linear and you'll turn out pretty happy.

  • by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:28AM (#25747059) Journal

    Shh. Remember apple runs "fast" and is "glorious for multimedia!" somehow we skipped Linux and AMD, but hey, want to pay 2x as much for half the performance?

  • by postbigbang (761081) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:33AM (#25747129)

    If you're hinging your comments on the wafer size, you're blinded by Intel propaganda. Take a look at AMD's SPECjbb numbers, their cost per socket/core, and their threading for virtualization. Then perhaps you'll stop being an Intel shill.

  • Re:Oh please. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:43AM (#25747269)

    Since the C2D arrived, I've been going with Intel. I usually don't overclock, but the C2D handles it so well with such little effort that I based my purchase of a $200 ~2.2 GHz chip on that alone. With the addition of a $30 heatsink I had it at 3.4 GHz with temperatures under 60 C at load (below the temperature seen at stock speed with the stock cooler, implying good longevity), back when there were no 3.4 GHz Duos and the closest thing cost about $1000. I have several friends who had never OCed before who did the same thing, all ending up with 2.8-3.6 GHz chips that all are still working perfectly and speedily ~1.5 years later.

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:44AM (#25747293) Homepage Journal

    How about AMD/ATI?
    They have bee producing some very good chipsets for the desktop.

  • Re:Oh please. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @11:50AM (#25747393) Homepage Journal

    I tend to agree. The honest truth is that and AMD 780G motherboard and one of the low power X2s makes a great system for most users. If you want to play games throw on a 3870 or if you really need it a 4850.
    I just built a system for my wife with an ASUS 780G motherboard, X2 and 4 Gigs of ram. Total cost was under $200 and it runs very well.
    If you not into high end gaming then AMD seems like a great choice.
    I can hardly wait for 45nm AMD desktop CPUs to start showing up. I really want one.

  • by chrb (1083577) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @12:00PM (#25747537)

    Of course it worked for Intel. Higher resolution lithography processes mean you can fit multiple cores in the same space as a single core from a decade ago. It means that the latency for critical paths is reduced, which means you can run the chips at a higher clockspeed. It means current consumed by transistor switching is reduced, so that chips can run at a lower power whilst maintaining or increasing throughput (thought interestingly leakage current increases as feature size shrinks).

    Manufacturing process improvements are the number one driver of processor advances. It is obviously true that processor architecture changes, but mostly this is a response to new developments allowing more circuitry to fit in the same space. The latest Core processors have basically the same pipeline design as the original Pentium Pro. If you could go back and re-design the PP using our "new" architectural advances but older technology process, you would end up with a pretty similar design, since the process itself imposes such huge constraints on the architecture.

  • Re:Clock (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2008 @12:03PM (#25747581)

    Comparing two CPUs based on clock speed alone is like comparing the speed of two cars by measuring only the RPMs of the tires. It won't get you anywhere ... you need to know the size of the tires as well!

    Thus concludes my first /. car analogy. Thank you.

  • Chipset?... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by valnar (914809) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @12:06PM (#25747613)
    Despite any advances AMD makes in CPU's, they still have such a sub par selection of chipset vendors. I'm very happy that Intel makes both the best CPU's and chipsets at the moment. It makes the decision easy. Because if AMD came out with a killer CPU but I had to resort to an NVidia/AMD/VIA chipset to run it, that would be quite a conundrum.
  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @12:39PM (#25748035)

    AMD is still doing OK on price to performance, but what I think is hurting them is that the margins are not the same, because CPU's as a whole are just so cheap now. I remember back when an ENTRY LEVEL off-brand chip like a Cyrix (or, AMD) cost $150. "Intel Inside" cost $350 or more starting out. We'll call that a 50% ratio. The AMD (and certainly not the Cyrix) chips were not quite as fast as their Intel competition, but to a high school student who was making $50 per week part time, I certainly didn't mind that small gap in performance.

    Now today, the ratio has changed. AMD still beats Intel in price to performance, but not by the same ratios, and the margins are much different. If a $40 AMD chip is slightly slower than a $65 Intel chip, then that's great, but the difference is only $25. A lot of people are going to be pretty quick to drop the couple of extra $$ for the Intel chip. Particularly now that I've noticed that, quite often, when you go over to the motherboards, Intel compatible motherboards are often coming in just a bit cheaper than AMD motherboards.

    Now personally, when I can, I still buy AMD at least 50% of the time, but the only reason I do that is because I remember the days when Intel's competition wasn't as tough, and I remember those days of $350 chips from them. I only support their competitors to ensure that that situation doesn't repeat itself. For people without such a goal though, Intel is certainly tempting.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 13, 2008 @01:09PM (#25748543)

    Java based-business transaction quantifier, without network I/O? Not trying to be a troll, but how useful is that?

  • by Penguinoflight (517245) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @01:37PM (#25749003) Homepage Journal

    Power consumption is actually one of the areas where intel has been soundly beat, year after year.
    Even 65nm processors from AMD use less power than Intel's 45nm procs, and Intel doesn't have an on-chip memory controller.

    Add in the extra power consumption of an Intel northbridge, and intel's offerings are usually about double the power consumption of a similarly clocked AMD system.

    AMD's real problems are in acheiving high clock speeds, and solving their fabrication process. If AMD's 45nm process is as improved as they say it is, and with their fabrication/design company split they should be able to get that side of their business under control.

  • Re:Oh please. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord Apathy (584315) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @01:54PM (#25749289)

    I doubt he does. Of the half a dozen or so systems that I have had in the last few years all of them but one has been AMD. Every one of the AMD worked fine until I retired it, but one. I killed that one. I was flashing the bios and accidentally put my big foot on the power strip. Yeah, it was stone dead.

    All the amd mb but that one still work fine. I have one I pulled out of storage after 2 years and powered it up. Its running perfectly. Hell, even the clock was still within acceptable time for being on ice for 2 years. The only intel board I had dropped dead after about a year and a half.

  • Re:Oh please. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Kamots (321174) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:26PM (#25749815)

    They're only CPU bound at low-res.

    At any decent res, you'll be GPU bound, even with the latest and greatest graphics card.

    Also, *which* 8800GTS are you on? It's a horribly overloaded model number where there are even different cores used. You can tell which you have based on the ram, a 320 or 640meg flavor is the older card, a 512meg flavor is newer.

    I'm thinking that you did something other than swap out your processor. WoW shouldn't be having any issues even on a single-core machine with a graphics card earlier than the one you had.

  • by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:44PM (#25750157) Homepage

    For the past year Intel has boxed AMD in with chips at the same performance and lower price, or the same price and higher performance, or both.

    That's been true in some price ranges, but Intel hasn't trumped AMD across the board any time recently. There's always been a couple price ranges - and usually the relevant ones like $120 to $150 - where AMD has a better product.

    pricing segments (Atom) well below AMD's.

    Geode?

    I'm not trying to say that Intel hasn't been "the winner" for the past year or so, but it certainly hasn't been as one-sided as you're claiming. AMD has been selling chips, based on being the best choice for individual consumers, the whole time.

  • by 0xABADC0DA (867955) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:46PM (#25750197)

    First, Intel didn't have better price/performance until recently. Certainly well into core 2 duo period the AMD Athlon 64, X2, etc were much better price/performance.

    Second, on the low end:

    AMD Sempron 1150 2ghz: $22
    Intel Celeron 430 1.8ghz: $39

    That Sempron is much faster than that Celeron. Atom is cheap for the processor, but the other parts cost more and use a lot of power (%50 of total power, 15 watts for chipset on Intel's Atom mITX board). Why do you think netbooks only get ~3hrs with 4 watt processor? Because the rest of the intel chipsets suck.

    Combos:

    AMD Sempron 3000: $50
    AMD Sempron LE1150: $60
    Intel Atom: $70

    Prices from newegg.

    Now lets think about this, AMD has matched Intel in price/performance despite a 2x larger process. What does that say about the respective merits for AMD and Intel designs? If Intel stumbles in advancing the process they are going to fail, because AMD has clearly better designs and engineers.

  • by Sj0 (472011) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @02:53PM (#25750307) Homepage Journal

    You subscribe to the bathtub curve of reliability. For many components, this isn't an accurate model.

    For many components, after you get past infant mortality, the devices remain consistently reliable. I've seen 386s and 486s that are still running, day in day out, today. PDP11s simply don't die, and there are some that are just sitting in a corner quietly doing mission critical tasks in industry.

    All you have to do is identify common failure modes and do maintenance to mitigate them. For example, the dominant failure mode of PCs tends to be fan failure due to dust build-up, followed by hard disk failure. The first can be avoided by cleaning the fans regularly on a schedule chosen based on the rate of dust build-up. The second isn't really a dominant failure mode -- I don't know anyone who has ever had to buy a replacement hard drive. Regardless, to protect against failure, simply keep back-ups of important data.

  • by CAIMLAS (41445) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @03:34PM (#25751001) Homepage

    Er, huh?

    AMD dominated the price/performance war with Intel from the time they released their K6 chips - that'd be 1997 (hello, remember the "sub-$1000 PC"? that's thanks to AMD). This was the case until just recently when things started to go multi-core - and even then, AMD had a bit of resurgence while playing leapfrog with Intel.

    From about 1999 to 2003 AMD was way, way ahead of Intel; Intel didn't pull ahead of AMD in terms of simple performance (without spending close to a grand for a processor) until the release of their Core based processors. Their performance started to improve quite a bit with the M based processors, but your common desktop price/performance was still dominated by AMD.

    Arguably, AMD's memory management is still better. We'll see how this generation hashes out.

  • Re:Oh please. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by danbert8 (1024253) on Thursday November 13, 2008 @06:25PM (#25753847)

    I don't think that's entirely accurate. You can't just switch out the processor. You have to switch out the entire motherboard too, so you have a different memory controller, a different northbridge, a different sound chip, a different sata controller, etc... What makes you think that the processor was the magical factor out of all those that eliminated the problem.

    Additionally, you probably also did a complete reinstall of your operating system when you upgraded the parts, which de-bloats Windows and you also downloaded the latest drivers for your graphics card. Those two items alone could have given you huge performance increases without changing any hardware at all.

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