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AMD Platform Meets Lucid Hydra on MSI 870A-GD60 Hydra

MSI has undertaken a very interesting project: to use the Lucid Hydra chip on an AMD platform motherboard, its second design with Lucid Hydra. The 870A-GD60 Hydra is a socket AM3 motherboard based on the AMD 870 + SB850 chipset. The AMD 870 chipset succeeds the AMD 770, in being suited for single discrete-graphics setups. The chipset packs no PCI-Express external switching, and hence there is only one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 link it can give to a graphics card. MSI connected this link to a Hydra Engine chip, to give out two full-bandwidth PCI-Express 2.0 x16 links. "Why not simply use the 890FX?" could be a question for many, but its answer lies in Hydra's advantage over it: it allows you to pair two NVIDIA graphics cards, two ATI graphics cards, or even mix an NVIDIA and an ATI card in a mixed multi-GPU array, as has been demonstrated with MSI's P55 Big Bang Fuzion motherboard.

The AM3 socket is powered by a 10-phase DrMOS based VRM. The CPU connects to four DDR3 DIMM slots for dual-channel memory. It connects to the AMD 870 northbridge over the HyperTransport 3.0 interface. Its lone PCI-E 2.0 x16 port is taken up by the Hydra Engine chip located between the two PCI-E 2.0 x16 slots. Other expansion slots include three PCI-E x1, and one PCI. The SB850 southbridge gives out six internal SATA 6 Gb/s ports. Connectivity includes 8 channel HD audio with SPDIF connections, eSATA by an additional controller, FireWire, two USB 3.0 ports, and a number of USB 2.0 ports. The 870A-GD60 Hydra could be released late next month.


AMD Unveils Versatile AMD 890GX Chipset

AMD and its motherboard partners today unleashed ATI Radeon HD 4290 Graphics with the AMD 890GX Chipset, a versatile, affordable and exceptionally energy efficient solution for an incredible, high definition visual computing experience.

The AMD 890GX chipset redefines the way you play with versatile graphics configurations, including DirectX 10.1 graphics on the motherboard and support for up to two high-performance ATI Radeon Premium Graphics cards with ATI CrossFireX technology. The same AMD 890GX motherboard which can be used to build an efficient and slim home theater PC using the integrated ATI Radeon HD 4290 Graphics, can be augmented with ATI Radeon HD 5450 Graphics for a dual-graphics performance preview, or upgraded to a gaming powerhouse with ATI Radeon HD 5870 Graphics and the visual realism of DirectX 11.

AMD Starts Shipping 12-core and 8-core ''Magny Cours'' Opteron Processors

AMD has started shipping its 8-core and 12-core "Magny Cours" Opteron processors for sockets G34 (2P-4P+), and C32 (1P-2P). The processors mark entry of several new technologies for AMD, such as a multi-chip module (MCM) approach towards increasing the processor's resources without having to complicate chip design any further than improving on those of the Shanghai and Istanbul. The new Opteron chips further make use of third-generation HyperTransport interconnect technologies for 6.4 GT/s interconnect speeds between the processor and host, and between processors on multi-socket configurations. It also embraces the Registered DDR3 memory technology. Each processor addresses memory over up to four independent (unganged) memory channels. Technologies such as HT Assist improve inter-silicon bandwidth on the MCMs. The processors further benefit from 12 MB of L3 caches on board, and 512 KB of dedicated L2 caches per processor core.

In the company's blog, the Director of Product Marketing for Server/Workstation products, John Fruehe, writes "Production began last month and our OEM partners have been receiving production parts this month." The new processors come in G34/C32 packages (1974-pin land-grid array). There are two product lines: the 1P/2P capable (cheaper) Opteron 4000 series, and 2P to 4P capable Opteron 6000 series. There are a total of 18 SKUs AMD has planned some of these are listed as followed, with OEM prices in EUR:

Phenom II X6 Series Details Surface, Slated for May 2010

AMD's upcoming six-core desktop processor, codenamed "Thuban" is on course for a May 2010, suggests a report. The series is likely to receive the brand name Phenom II X6. There are four models planned for release within Q2, 2010. The Thuban core is AMD's desktop implementation of the Istanbul core, in the socket AM3 package, supporting dual-channel DDR3 memory. It is a monolithic multi-core design with six x86-64 cores, each with 128 KB of L1, 512 KB of L2 cache, and a 6 MB L3 cache shared between the six cores. Just as with K10 dual, triple, and quad core processors where AMD used a HyperTransport interface clock speed of 1800 MHz (3600 MT/s), or 2000 MHz (4000 MT/s), the new processor will take advantage of HyperTransport 3.x interface, with a HT speed of 2400 MHz (4800 MT/s). Thuban will be built on GlobalFoundaries' 45 nm node.

The table below lists out details of the four planned models. The model number of the top part isn't known. Most likely it is a Black Edition part, which comes with an unlocked BClk multiplier. It operates at 2.80 GHz, with a TDP of 140W. A step below is the Phenom II X6 1075T, which has an expected TDP of 125W, the 1055T is a notch below, and 1035T being the cheapest part. The exact clock speeds of the latter three models isn't known as yet. A month ahead of releasing these chips, AMD will announce the AMD 8-series chipset platform, led by 890FX (high-end, best for CrossFireX), 890GX (performance integrated graphics with CrossFire support). The AMD SB800 series southbridge chips will feature native support for SATA 6 Gb/s. Its on-die SATA controller gives out six SATA ports complete with RAID support. Some existing AM3 motherboards based on 7-series chipsets may also support Phenom II X6 with a BIOS update.

Source: OCWorkbench

AMD Expands Athlon II Series Processor Lineup

AMD expanded its value processor lineup under the Athlon II banner, with as many as eight new models. The list includes energy-efficient quad-core models, inexpensive triple-core ones, and budget dual-core offerings. All models are based on socket AM3, and are compatible with AM2(+) sockets. The dual-channel memory controllers on these chips support both DDR2 and DDR3 memory standards. This expansion clearly demarcates the target market of the Athlon II series: sub $150.

The quad-core Athlon II X4 parts are based on the Propus die, which has 512 KB of dedicated L2 cache per core, and a HyperTransport 4.0 GT/s system interface. The new Athlon II X3 triple-core models are most likely produced by disabling one of the four cores on the Propus die. The energy efficient Athlon II parts come with the "e" suffix for the model number, and offer lower rated TDP. Following are the details of these new parts:
  • Athlon II X2 235e: 2.70 GHz, 2 MB (2 x 1 MB) L2 cache, 45W TDP, US $69
  • Athlon II X2 240e: 2.80 GHz, 2 MB (2 x 1 MB) L2 cache, 45W TDP, US $77
  • Athlon II X3 400e: 2.20 GHz, 1.5 MB (3 x 512 KB) L2 cache, 45W TDP, US $97
  • Athlon II X3 405e: 2.30 GHz, 1.5 MB (3 x 512 KB) L2 cache, 45W TDP, US $102
  • Athlon II X3 425: 2.70 GHz, 1.5 MB (3 x 512 KB) L2 cache, 95W TDP, US $76
  • Athlon II X3 435: 2.90 GHz, 1.5 MB (3 x 512 KB) L2 cache, 95W TDP, US $87
  • Athlon II X4 600e: 2.20 GHz, 2 MB (4 x 512 KB) L2 cache, 45W TDP, US $133
  • Athlon II X4 605e: 2.30 GHz, 2 MB (4 x 512 KB) L2 cache, 45W TDP, US $143

AMD Delivers New Platform Solution for Enterprise-Class Embedded Systems

AMD announced immediate availability of a new enterprise-class embedded platform based on the Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor and new AMD SR5690/SP5100 server chipset. Seven AMD Opteron processors in three power bands, in conjunction with the new low-power chipset, allow high-end embedded vendors to enable increased performance-per-watt for edge-of-network systems such as telecom/datacom, storage, and security servers, and routers and switches.

This comprehensive platform offers:
  • increased performance enabled for virtualized and multithreaded embedded applications;
  • enhanced NEBS-friendly thermal specification;
  • single source for design and tight technology integration support among CPUs, chipsets and GPUs;
  • compatibility between processor generations and 5 year component longevity to support long-life designs;
  • a high-performance, low power chipset with PCIe 2.0, HyperTransport 3 technology and advanced AMD Virtualization (AMD-V) technology and AMD-P power management features.

AMD Magny Cours CPU-Z Validation

Here's the first CPU-Z validation of AMD's 12-core Magny Cours processor. Whatever details the existing version of CPU-Z does read, perfectly matches the specifications of the processor sketched out so far. Firstly, it's based on AMD's upcoming socket G3 package that marks Opteron's transition to high-level integration within a single package. With 1,974 pins, socket G3 is able to provide as many as six 16-bit HyperTransport 3.1 links, and four DDR3 memory channels. The package is one of AMD's first multi-chip modules, that houses two six-core dies (dubbed "nodes"), onto one package, and connects the two using a HyperTransport link.

Each node has 6 x 512 KB of L2 cache and 6 MB L3 cache shared between the six cores. Out of 6 MB, 1 MB of the cache is reserved for low-level system operations, namely the HT Assist (probe filter) that aims to lower memory subsystem latencies, reduces queuing delays due to lower HyperTransport traffic overhead, and minimizes probe traffic to increase system bandwidth. The CPU-Z reading of 10 MB total chip L3 cache is spot-on. Also seen on the validation page are details on the reference motherboard, called "AMD Dinar", that uses SR5690 (same chip as 890FX) + SB750 chipset. The CPU-Z validation can be found here.

AMD Demos 48-core ''Magny-Cours'' System, Details Architecture

Earlier slated coarsely for 2010, AMD fine-tuned the expected release time-frame of its 12-core "Magny-Cours" Opteron processors to be within Q1 2010. The company seems to be ready with the processors, and has demonstrated a 4 socket, 48 core machine based on these processors. Magny Cours holds symbolism in being one of the last processor designs by AMD before it moves over to "Bulldozer", the next processor design by AMD built from ground-up. Its release will provide competition to Intel's multi-core processors available at that point.

AMD's Pat Conway at the IEEE Hot Chips 21 conference presented the Magny-Cours design that include several key design changes that boost parallelism and efficiency in a high-density computing environment. Key features include: Move to socket G34 (from socket-F), 12-cores, use of a multi-chip module (MCM) package to house two 6-core dies (nodes), quad-channel DDR3 memory interface, and HyperTransport 3 6.4 GT/s with redesigned multi-node topologies. Let's put some of these under the watch-glass.

AMD Readying Low Cost ''Suzuka'' Opteron Processors

Over a month into the release of its flagship enterprise processor, the six-core Opteron codenamed "Istanbul", the company expressed plans to roll out another line of Opteron chips, this time targeting the cost-effective SME market, and not exactly power scaling and parallelism offered by its two-socket and multi-socket capable Opteron 2000 and Opteron 8000 series. The new quad-core processor will be codenamed "Suzuka", and will be made for single-socket systems. For this reason, it will not use the 1207-pin Socket F, but rather the AM3 socket, and will be compatible with existing AM2(+) motherboards that support the Budapest quad-core chip (single socket version of Barcelona).

Suzuka shares the same die design as Shanghai (Opteron) and Deneb (Phenom II). It features four x86-64 processing cores on a monolithic die, with 512 KB of L2 cache per core, and a shared 6 MB L3 cache. Dual DDR2/DDR3 memory controllers work in ganged or unganged dual-channel modes. Currently three models are ready, the 2.50 GHz Opteron 1381, 2.70 GHz Opteron 1385, and 2.90 GHz 1389. These chips are specified to come with system bus speeds of 2200 MT/s (HyperTransport bus actual speed of 1100 MHz). All three models come with a rated TDP of around 115 W, and is built on the 45 nm SOI process. Opteron 1381 is priced at US $189, Opteron 1385 at $229, and Opteron 1389 at $269.Source: AMD

AMD G34 Motherboards Spotted

Some of the first AMD socket G34 motherboards were caught on camera, at the ongoing Computex event, by Inpai. The new socket succeeds the G3MX, which was discontinued in its development process itself. It facilitates upcoming six-core, and twelve-core "Magny-Corus" processors by AMD, which will use HyperTransport 3.0 system interface (for the first time on the enterprise AMD platform), and support the quad-channel (per socket) memory interface. One of the first processors in line for this socket is the based on the "Istanbul" six-core silicon.

The Inventec G34 HPC motherboard (left, below) will be targeted at the server and HPC markets. The two sockets are wired to twelve DDR3 DIMM slots per socket, each array supporting a 256-bit wide (quad-channel) memory interface. The Quanta G34 looks to be more workstation oriented, featuring several PCI-Express slots, and eight DIMM slots per socket. Like Socket F, the new socket physically will be a land-grid array, with pins on the socket, and contact points on the processor package. Its pin-count is known to be 1974.

Source: INPAI

AMD To Crank Up Phenom II Clock-Speeds Upto 3.50 GHz, Planning New Models

Beating its chest on the "massive headroom" (read: clock speed increment potential) its newest line of processors, the Phenom II have, it was about time the company utilized the said headroom to carve out new SKUs. With the AM2+ exclusive Phenom II X4 940 already showing impressive overclocking potential, while shipping with a clock speed of 3.00 GHz, the company is planning to increase stock clock speeds in increments of 100 MHz (0.5x multiplier) with a string of SKUs post Phenom II X4 950. This according to the insider sources a German website called AMD News caught up with.

All the upcoming processors will be built on the AM3 package, making them compatible with DDR3 and DDR2 memory standards. With the Phenom II X4 950 being clocked at 3.10 GHz, succeeding SKUs take 100 MHz steps, starting from a Phenom II X4 960 at 3.20 GHz to a Phenom II X4 990 at 3.50 GHz. Despite the high clock speeds, the chips will continue to maintain rated TDPs of 125W. At some point within the succession, AMD will crank up the HyperTransport interconnect speed from 1,800 MHz to 2,000 MHz. The launch-schedule for these processors will be spread throughout 2009.

ASRock nForce 3 Motherboard Supports Phenom II

With the AMD K8 architecture, AMD had made it very simple for CPUs and motherboards to get along. Memory support being purely subjective to the memory controller on the CPU, the only thing the motherboard chipset was left to do was to connect the rest of the system to the CPU using the HyperTransport interface. With the introduction of the DDR2 supportive AM2 socket that was mostly pin-compatible with socket 939, motherboard vendors took to cost-cutting using older s939 and s754-"supportive" chipsets such as the NVIDIA nForce 3. ASRock is one of them. The company used the nForce 3 in the AM2NF3-VSTA motherboard.

Having bought that motherboard in its time, might just pay off now, with the company including it in its latest socket AM3 CPU compatibility list. The motherboard might go on to support the latest Phenom II X4, X3 series; Athlon X4, X3 series, and other processors in AMD's 45nm desktop CPU lineup. That will also add to the reputation of the NVIDIA nForce 3 chipset being the only platform core-logic to span across three generations of CPU sockets: socket 754, socket 939, and socket AM2. And supporting AMD processors from three generations of sockets: AM2, AM2+ and AM3. This is what AMD originally conceived when designing its socket model. Unfortunately, vested commercial interests and "sandbagging" have plagued many a motherboard manufacturer who continue to discriminate CPU support within the AM2/3 socket series, to create new product lines, and to keep their sales up.

Source: Silicon Madness

Gigabyte Announces Support for Upcoming 45nm AMD AM3/AM2+ Processors

GIGABYTE, a leading manufacturer of motherboards and graphics cards today is pleased to announce support for the soon-to-be-released AMD 45nm processors including socket AM3 and AM2+ on a full range of current platforms including the AMD 790FX, 790GX, 790X, 770, 780G, 740G as well as the NVIDIA nForce 750a SLI and GeForce 8200.

With a simple BIOS upgrade, GIGABYTE delivers an easy upgrade path for users wanting to take advantage of AMD's latest 45nm process technology enhancements including higher core clocks with greater energy efficiency over past generations, integrated DDR2/DDR3 memory controller (DDR3 memory support for AM3 processors and AM3 designed motherboards only), HyperTransport 3.0 and C1E enhanced power savings.

AMD Materializes Embedded Platform Core-Logic

AMD has taken steps towards providing its next embedded CPUs with the introduction of a core-logic platform that suits its thermal envelopes, while providing the kind of features essential to embedded platforms today. Its direct implementation could be the embedded low-power Athlon single and dual-core processors that could make it to UMPCs, nettops, and the likes.

The embedded processors will come in the ball-grid array package, and a reduced board footprint (package-size). At the heart of this core-logic is the AMD 780E northbridge. It is a reworked 780G chip with reduced thermal footprints. It will provide the CPU with a HyperTransport 3.0 (up to 5.6 GT/s) connection. This northbridge embeds a ATI Radeon HD 3300-class integrated graphics (IGP) which is AMD Sideport-capable. This adds the provision of adding DDR3 memory chips on the board to serve as video-memory. The northbridge provides an A-Link 2.0 connection (PCI-Express 2.0 x4) to the AMD SB7x0 class southbridge. The northbridge also features a native PCI-E multiplex to allow ATI CrossfireX with two PCI-E 2.0 x8 electrical connections. The SB7x0 southbridge provides up to six SATA II channels, 12 USB 2.0 connections, HD Audio, among others.

TYAN Launches New Opteron Supportive Server Platform, Upgrades Current Platforms

TYAN, an industry-leading server platform provider, today announced at SC’08 that its current line of 23 AMD Opteron processor-based platforms and 1 new AMD Opteron- processor based product will support the new Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor (codenamed “Shanghai”). Customers can achieve superior performance, low power consumption and low total cost of ownership by upgrading to the new TYAN platforms powered by the enhanced Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor built on 45nm process technology. TYAN platforms that support the previous Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors are socket compatible and will only require a BIOS update to support this next-generation processor.

NVIDIA Slates nForce 700 (AMD) Series Successors for 2009

NVIDIA had been a little behind AMD for releasing high-performance chipsets supporting HyperTransport 3.0 interface for the Phenom series processors. The green giant managed to release the nForce 780a and 750a chipsets. It was recently, that AMD released a new overclocking algorithm call Advanced Clock Calibration (ACC), that basically puts clock-generators into the chipset for fine-tuning clock speeds. The companion SB750 southbridge by AMD handled this feature, on some of the newer 790 FX and 790 GX motherboards. As for NVIDIA, the 780a isn't really a SPP + MCP design. The so called northbridge here is the MCP itself (MCP78A), and the so called southbridge on 780a motherboards, is actually an nForce 200 chip that handles PCI-Express lanes and broadcasts data to multiple graphics cards, so the MCP had to be equipped with the feature.

AMD 45nm Quad-Core Opteron Lineup for 2009 Detailed

AMD would be releasing 45nm silicon fabricated series of the quad-core Opteron processor based on the newer Shanghai core. Like its desktop PC counterpart, the Deneb core, it features 6 MB of L3 cache along with some enterprise-specific features. They will be designed for high-uptime and energy efficiency. AMD banks heavily on the performance efficiency and virtualization capabilities of these processors. There are primarily two types of these processors based on the multi-processor capabilities: the 2000 series 2-way processors and the 8000 series 8-way processors. The former supports two-socket systems while the latter is designed for dense 2+ socket environments, where up to 8 Opteron processors could work in tandem. The processors continue to have Socket-F (s1207) interfaces, hence the entire lineup retains its DDR2 memory standard.

Interestingly, AMD did not rework the system interface for all its newer chips. Across the vast lineup of 20 models, only four support the newer HyperTransport 3.0 interface with 4400 MT/s interconnects. The rest continue to use the 2000 MT/s interconnects. It could be mid-2009 by the time AMD launches its own enterprise-segment chipsets, which could also be the time when the current leading player, NVIDIA launches its newer nForce Professional lineup for the Opteron. Since current chipsets from both NVIDIA and Broadcom feature only the older HyperTransport 2000 MT/s interfaces, it could explain why most of these chips feature it.

Source: HKEPC

HyperTransport 3.1 Specifications Emerge, 45 nm AMD CPUs Support it

The HyperTransport Consortium released an updated specification, HT 3.1, that increases the base clock speed of the HyperTransport bus from its previous version 3.0 limit of 2600 MHz (5200 MT/s) to 3200 MHz (6400 MT/s). The upcoming 45nm processors will be given a host of architectural updates, one of them being a revised HT 3.1 system bus. Since AMD processors use a 32-bit wide HyperTransport link to the core logic, the aggregate bandwidth of the system but would be raised to 51.6 GB/s (25.8 GB/s in each direction).

This 10 GB/s increment is supposed to favour the upcoming AMD Fusion processors, where a graphics processor would be embedded into the CPU. That could also mean that the CPU could carry PCI-Express switches, effectively eradicating the northbridge. This would mean performance gains with the CPU communicating with PCI-E devices directly instead of through a northbridge-based PCI-E switch, much in the same way as integration of memory controllers five years ago helped AMD processors. It is expected that motherboard vendors have no problems implementing HT 3.1, the AMD 790GX and 790FX chipsets offer native support to HT 3.1 with 45 nm CPUs.Source: TG Daily
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