Thursday, August 18th 2011

AMD Releases First Socket FM1 Athlon Processor

Along with its first triple-core APU, the A6-3500, AMD released the first Athlon branded processor in the socket FM1 package. The Athlon X4 631, as it's called, is a quad-core processor. Notice I said processor and not APU, because this chip lacks the integrated graphics core. Or at least it's there on the silicon and permanently disabled. The processor still has integrated dual-channel DDR3 memory controller, and more importantly, the integrated PCI-Express 2.0 root complex.

The Athlon X4 631 has its four x86-64 cores clocked at 2.60 GHz, lacking TurboCore. There is 4 MB of total cache, arranged as 1 MB dedicated L2 cache per core. The processor has a rated TDP of 100W, above the 95W TDP of the socket AM3 Athlon X4 chips, but given that the northbridge is completely fused with the processor, the 5W TDP jump is fair. The chip is compatible with all socket FM1 motherboards based on the AMD A55 and A75 chipsets. It is priced at US $79 a piece in 1000-unit tray quantities.
Add your own comment

24 Comments on AMD Releases First Socket FM1 Athlon Processor

#2
roberto888
I think there will be some method to unlock itm like the ACC to unlock disabled cores!:)
Posted on Reply
#3
de.das.dude
Pro Indian Modder
unlocking GPUS ftw!
Posted on Reply
#4
Frick
Fishfaced Nincompoop
Now just give us some ITX mobos.
Posted on Reply
#5
faramir
Hiow comes this thing is slower than majority of the 45 nm 4-core lineup, yet it has TDP that surpasses any of them ?

I wish they made a decent GPUless 32 nm K10-based chip, clock it as high as realistically possible (3.5+ GHz should be easily doable, considering A8-3850 is capable of passing the 3.7 GHz mark with BCLK overclock alone ... and that's with its GPU enabled, wasting previous TDP room for mediocre graphics performance) and market it as a midrange solution for those who need more CPU and GPU performance than Llano can provide, so people would opt for miore powerful discrete (AMD) GPU options and finally make some use of the multitude of twin 8x PCI-e FM1 boards we've been seeing recently.

Such a chip would be positioned inbetween Llano and 4-core Bulldozer with regards to CPU performance while costing roughly as much as top of the line Llano. This way people could trade onchip GPU resources and TDP for higher CPU power and AMD would be making same profit margins as with A8-3850 chips, plus improve its discrete GPU sales. An upgrade path from Llano while still retaining the platform people already invested in ? Sounds much better than the crippled 2.6 GHz chip to me.

Since Bulldozer won't be avaliable for the FM1 platform and since it appears that FM1 is a dead end anyway this would be a perfect solution for breathing more life into machines people are buying today without causing any undue market cannibalization between differet AMD architectures. Heck, perhaps this architecture could pass the 4.5 or even 5 GHz mark at some point once the 32 nm manufacturing process quirks are ironed out, considering the rather trivial 45 nm Phenom II overclocking ? Now that would be some way to milk the ancient Athlon architecture down to the last dime :)
Posted on Reply
#6
Kenshai
by: faramir
Hiow comes this thing is slower than majority of the 45 nm 4-core lineup, yet it has TDP that surpasses any of them ?

I wish they made a decent GPUless 32 nm K10-based chip, clock it as high as realistically possible (3.5+ GHz should be easily doable, considering A8-3850 is capable of passing the 3.7 GHz mark with BCLK overclock alone ... and that's with its GPU enabled, wasting previous TDP room for mediocre graphics performance) and market it as a midrange solution for those who need more CPU and GPU performance than Llano can provide, so people would opt for miore powerful discrete (AMD) GPU options and finally make some use of the multitude of twin 8x PCI-e FM1 boards we've been seeing recently.

Such a chip would be positioned inbetween Llano and 4-core Bulldozer with regards to CPU performance while costing roughly as much as top of the line Llano. This way people could trade onchip GPU resources and TDP for higher CPU power and AMD would be making same profit margins as with A8-3850 chips, plus improve its discrete GPU sales. An upgrade path from Llano while still retaining the platform people already invested in ? Sounds much better than the crippled 2.6 GHz chip to me.

Since Bulldozer won't be avaliable for the FM1 platform and since it appears that FM1 is a dead end anyway this would be a perfect solution for breathing more life into machines people are buying today without causing any undue market cannibalization between differet AMD architectures. Heck, perhaps this architecture could pass the 4.5 or even 5 GHz mark at some point once the 32 nm manufacturing process quirks are ironed out, considering the rather trivial 45 nm Phenom II overclocking ? Now that would be some way to milk the ancient Athlon architecture down to the last dime :)
I think you misunderstood what FM1 is really for. Granted this chip seems pointless at this price point.
Posted on Reply
#7
xBruce88x
not to mention it does have the northbridge on chip.

not sure how good an idea it would be to unlock the gpu cores... with 320-400 of them the chances of some not working are pretty high. may not be very useful unless the program that unlocks them can pick out the good cores, if the thing hasn't been neutered with a laser.
Posted on Reply
#8
faramir
by: Kenshai
I think you misunderstood what FM1 is really for. Granted this chip seems pointless at this price point.
Well, would you care to enlighten me in that case ?

FM1 is a dead end that will be used by first generation desktop APUs (Llano) and possibly some Trinity models, then it's gone for good (just like LGA1156 and LGA1366 on Intel's side). By coming up with a decent GPU-less Llano successor - something this new Athlon could have been, but just isn't - the folks who're investing into FM1 and A-series chips today would still have a viable upgrade path for some time to follow, trading the integrated GPU capability for CPU capability and sticking a discrete graphics card into their motherboard (where the PCI-e slots are likely to go unused today) for a combination that could easily cope with computing and graphics requirements of the forseeable future. This would allow AMD to squeeze even more money out of their old architecture, so it would be a win-win situation.
Posted on Reply
#9
TheLostSwede
by: xBruce88x
not to mention it does have the northbridge on chip.

not sure how good an idea it would be to unlock the gpu cores... with 320-400 of them the chances of some not working are pretty high. may not be very useful unless the program that unlocks them can pick out the good cores, if the thing hasn't been neutered with a laser.
1. There's no such thing as a northbridge any more, AMD integrated the memory controller ages ago and what was left was a simple PCI Express controller which is now inside the chip package as well.

2. It doesn't work like that, go read a couple of graphics card reviews here and you might get a better idea how it works. For one, they're hardly "gpu cores" that's a BS marketing term and on top of that, as they're enabled in clusters of a predetermined amount based on the GPU design, in this case 80 at a time, you're looking at 4-5 clusters which means that it would have to be possible to enable and disable the clusters individually rather than each of the shaders.
Posted on Reply
#10
CoreDuo
by: faramir
Well, would you care to enlighten me in that case ?

FM1 is a dead end that will be used by first generation desktop APUs (Llano) and possibly some Trinity models, then it's gone for good (just like LGA1156 and LGA1366 on Intel's side). By coming up with a decent GPU-less Llano successor - something this new Athlon could have been, but just isn't - the folks who're investing into FM1 and A-series chips today would still have a viable upgrade path for some time to follow, trading the integrated GPU capability for CPU capability and sticking a discrete graphics card into their motherboard (where the PCI-e slots are likely to go unused today) for a combination that could easily cope with computing and graphics requirements of the forseeable future. This would allow AMD to squeeze even more money out of their old architecture, so it would be a win-win situation.
How is FM1 a dead end when the Piledriver CPUs as well as the Bulldozer-based Trinity APUs are both going to be released on socket FM2? I'm sure there will be chipset differences as there always has been with AMD but I really don't think they'd rehash the same ideals that made Socket 754 fail. It would be strange for FM2 not to have backwards compatibility with FM1 else it would be a fruitless endeavor to name them similarly. If there's any dead end, it lies entirely with AM3+ as it's more than likely going to be discontinued as soon as the FM2 chips roll out.

Source
Posted on Reply
#11
Steevo
MLTN its a damaged GPU and an attempt to refine the process even more before their next spin.
Posted on Reply
#12
Casecutter
Well I haven't completely got my head wrapped around the whole context of what this means...

Although, my first thought on the Athlon X4 631 with disabled graphics… for a FM1/A55 mobo? So you pay top dollar for the mobo (at least right today) and still need graphics. I considered $80 for such CPU a little rich! I suppose if the pricing drops for FM1 mobo’s, though the cheapest I see are $70-80 and tray CPU is say more $70, I suppose it’s a option if the processing power is more than say the X4 925.

I don’t know as of right today what this means considering costs or what this option provides over a 880G and X4 925. I just don’t see the value of going FM1 what’s your upgrade path? It seems like AMD has a fair amount of binned chips and sure there’s folk who want to play with them, but IdK.

I see Lano is fine idea it's just not a smart enthusiast/geek platform. It great for workstation, light home use and with a PCI slot for a graphic upgrade sometime out in the future still has legs. I kind of get a feeling AMD might make some specific Southern Island model down the road, an optimized card that really works at trading the workload, but isn’t intended as standalone, it needs the APU/FM1 to even work. It’s a great way for them to pluck at least one upgrade, for those who ventured into the APU’s first go around.
Posted on Reply
#14
NC37
Pointless CPU. I'm building an FM1 build for an aunt who doesn't need more than that. This CPU defeats the purpose of the APU build.

I wouldn't count FM2 to be backwards with FM1. This isn't like simple CPUs which can either run slower to disable a function to work on older AM2. You are also adding the GPU component to that. The next APUs will likely be better and more powerful, with performers going above the low mid range. Unless AMD completely designs for compatibility between platforms. Personally I think it would be easier for them to just focus on advancing APUs more before gearing for compatibility.
Posted on Reply
#15
meirb111
piece of junk

motherboard prices for fm1 is high so buying this cpu is pointles
a better buy is 45nm athlon x4 with lower motherboard price
it looks like Amd is taking a bad example from intel's 1155 high
motherboard price
Posted on Reply
#16
Casecutter
If AMD can dump Llano's “old K10” integrated graphics controller communication through the main memory (CPU-GPU latency), Trinity could take a huge leap. Then if Hybrid graphics needs only to communicate the cards memory directly though PCI-E to the APU they might see more gains.
Posted on Reply
#17
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Added News Poll.
Posted on Reply
#18
crazyeyesreaper
Chief Broken Rig
I think ppl here dont understand what this can do to help

an APU has far better memory bandwidth in certain games like Codemasters titles a STOCK 3850 APU offers 20fps more then a stock 1090T with the same gpu used

theres a sort of TDP limit built into the AMD APU chip

with the GPU disabled in theory and if were lucky that means we can clock the CPU further because the GPU isnt contributing to the TDP thus lower TDP to start with do to GPU being disabled may allow for higher overclocks its not 100% but thats my guess

and considering the APU has nearly 3000mb/s of memory bandwidth more over a Phenom II chip and is the same price if disabling the gpu lets an APU hit 3.8ghz well that would mean an APU would surpass a Phenom II quad in just about everything at that point.

It essentially means that you get 1866mhz ram speeds out of box, at the same ram speeds aka 1333 the A-3850 has 3000mb/s more memory bandwidth getting 1866mhz out of box further improves this bandwidth making an A-series quadcore if its able to push higher clock speeds far more effective then say a 955 or 965BE
Posted on Reply
#19
Nesters
So, is there anyone with an Athlon X4 631 (damn cheap)? I've seen several benchmarks on MSI boards with a "Lab Burst Mode" enabled showing 4+ghz clocks and good scores.
I mean with improved memory management this CPU is better performing than a similar clocked phenom in a lot of benchmarks/games.
It's hard to find any info because there's literally no reviews out there just thinking of it as A6 with a hardware disabled iGPU, rather than a potential overclocker.
Posted on Reply
#20
xBruce88x
you might want try the Buy/Sell section of TPU
Posted on Reply
#21
Inceptor
It's likely that the GPU core is fused or has some kind of fatal problem.
I think this is AMD salvaging some partially faulty silicon (i.e gpu).
Posted on Reply
#22
cadaveca
My name is Dave
I wonder how this CPU will compete against a FX-4100? That's what has me worried. Salvaging parts makes sense from a business perspective, but I dunno that AMD should have products within it's own lineup that could potentially compete with one another, either in price, or performance, as fighting yourself in the market is just plain old stupid.
Posted on Reply
#23
Damn_Smooth
by: cadaveca
I wonder how this CPU will compete against a FX-4100? That's what has me worried. Salvaging parts makes sense from a business perspective, but I dunno that AMD should have products within it's own lineup that could potentially compete with one another, either in price, or performance, as fighting yourself in the market is just plain old stupid.
Maybe since BD failed so hard against Intel, they have decided to compete with themselves so it seems like they are competitive with something.
Posted on Reply
#24
Nesters
This CPU overclocked should rape FX-4100 (~955BE) and if I'm not mistaken FM1 socket is here to stay for another generation, isn't it?
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment