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The system on NVIDIA nForce2, GeForce FX, and Athlon XP; on the prospects of 400MHz FSB for AMD 7

Transmeta: through thorns to Astro

SigmaTel announces new 6-channel C-Major STAC9758/59 AC´97 2.3 codecs

AMD Athlon 64. Clawhammer is no more

Intel updates 2003 roadmap; Pentium 4 with 800MHz FSB

The system on NVIDIA nForce2, GeForce FX, and Athlon XP; on the prospects of 400MHz FSB for AMD 7

According to numerous messages from Comdex Fall 2002, at the exhibition they showed the system on AMD Athlon XP, NVIDIA nForce2-based mobo and, NVIDIA GeForce FX. In particular, note that the system had... 400MHz FSB!

This resulted in numerous far-reaching conclusions. For example, Anandtech is sure that 400MHz FSB demo was a kind of strength test before announcing Barton-based Athlon XP. The expected soon VIA KT400A, supporting dual-channel DDR SDRAM, is also forecasted for such processors along with nForce2.

400MHz FSB of the future AMD Bartons is promising and attractive, though not directly confirmed. The showed system had a usual Athlon XP 2800+. Nevertheless, theoretical capabitilty of Athlon XP to support 400MHz FSB lets us hope the market will see such AMD chips.

According to NVIDIA, 400MHz FSB system provides about 20% performance boost comparing a standard Athlon XP 2800+ with 333MHz FSB and enables to speak of 3200+ and higher ratings.

Transmeta: through thorns to Astro

It seems that Transmeta, whose business gets better, has cheered up and composed new future plans. At the press conference at Comdex Fall 2002 the company representatives announced the 2003 roadmap for the new Astro processor.

To be consecutive, Astro is the replacement of earlier (and even excluded from roadmaps once) TM8000. By the way, the new processor received its name after the doggy from The Jetsons cartoons:

The main difference of Astro (TM8000) from the current Crusoe TM5x00 is the 256-bit internal data representation and the capability of handling 8 instructions par clock (against 128 bits and 4 instructions of the previous models). The launch of Astro volume production is scheduled to mid-2003 at TSMC facilities using 0.13-micron precess technology. TM8000-based notebooks are expected in the market in Q3 2003. Along with lower energy consumption, the company promises the significant performance boost Astro comparing to Crusoe TM5800 and the lower price. TM8000 chips will feature the same BGA package as TM5800, but the crystal will be some larger due to additional transistors (mainly in registers).

According to Transmeta, the new chip will compete with Intel Banias, though being silent about the performance, representatives stressed the pricing competition. Pity there were not photos of new TM8000 and the reference board, but it was told that Astro was compared with Sony VAIO GRX on 1.8Ghz Mobile Pentium 4-M and showed better results in Windows boot test. Sounds attractive, but lets wait for more specific information from Transmeta. And not having anything for the theme, heres the photo of IBM reference board for TM5800, announced at Comdex Fall 2002:

SigmaTel announces new 6-channel C-Major STAC9758/59 AC´97 2.3 codecs

SigmaTel announced new C-Major STAC9758 AC´97 2.3 audio codec. 6-channel, 20-bit/96kHz full duplex STAC9758 features about 90dB SNR and supports Universal Jacks (further development of Jack-Sensing) for automatic device recognition (mic, headphones, speaker, etc.

Besides, STAC9758 supports SPDIF_IN/SPDIF_OUT, 48kHz and 96kHz sampling, multichannel ADAT Optical Lightpipe, used in professional audio industry for 8-channel 20- or 24-bit 48kHz transfers of uncompressed digital audio data over standard Toslink optical cabling.

Another new codec — STAC9759 has the similar features, but reqiores 3.3V instead of 5V.

AMD Athlon 64. Clawhammer is no more

AMD has at last specified the name of new-generation processors. Today at Comdex Fall 2002 it officially announced that former Clawhammer is renamed AMD Athlon 64.

The official explanations have rather confirmed previous thoughts over it: why abandon the highly promoted AMD Athlon brand, including one of the best chips ever? Though company representatives have also stressed that the new name reflects the migration of AMD to 64-bit computing and standard succession.

The official press release once more states that AMD Athlon 64 systems will appear in late Q1 or early Q2 2003.

Intel updates 2003 roadmap; Pentium 4 with 800MHz FSB

According to Japanese mass media, Intel has considerably updated its roadmap for 2003, having changed both processor, chipset shipments roadmaps.

Weve already mentioned some changes in Hyper-Threading-enabled Pentium 4 plans roadmap on Saturday (Intel Hyper-Threading evolution roadmap). Additionally, in Q2 2003 Hyper-Threading will be supported by all new Pentium 4 processors.

Besides, the company decided to raise FSB of new Hyper-Threading-enabled Pentium 4 to 800MHz. I.e. there wont be any 667MHz FSB chips, and the following chipsets will be released for the faster versions: Canterwood, Springdale-PE, Springdale-G. Another interesting thing is that new chipsets will support... DDR400!

So then. Early in 2003 Intel plans to apply wide Hyper-Threading support policy. For this new HT-enabled Pentium 4 will have slightly higher (by about $15) price than non-Hyper-Threading chips. In other words, $15 is Intels price of Hyper-Threading support and 800MHz FSB. The first HT-enabled Pentium 4 with 800MHz FSB, expected in Q2, will feature 3.2, 3.0, 2.8, 2.6, 2.4 GHz clocks. Note that the production of 90-nm Prescott-based chips, scheduled to H2 2003 is now specified to Q4. Besides, these processors will also pass by 667MHz FSB to feature 800MHz FSB at once.

Naturally, 400MHz FSB processors will start leaving the stage this year. For how long the production of non-HT chips with 533MHz FSB will continue, we do not know yet.

About the new chipsets. Naturally, the current Intel 845/850 line wont support 800MHz FSB, so theyll need to replace mobos to use newer Pentium 4. Obviously, the synchronous operation of 800MHz FSB systems and DDR400, both with 200MHz reference frequency, will be far more effective than asynchronous. With dual-channel DDR400 the memory bus bandwidth can reach 6.4GB/s. So, maybe due to this Intel decided to support DDR400. Moreover, I doubt that DRAM makers will be ready for industry-suitable volumes of DDR II shipments. Intel plans to move to DDR II in 2004, when Tejas-based chips arrive with 1066MHz bus along with DDR II-533.

Back to new chipsets. Unlike Canterwood, being a powerful logic with maxed features for single-CPU workstations and high-end desktops, Springdale, supporting 667MHz FSB, was positioned as Pentium 4/Prescott desktop logic, supporting dual-channel DDR. Now Intel Springdale family includes discrete Springdale-PE and Springdale-P, and integrated Springdale-G. Unlike Springdale-PE and Springdale-G, aimed at DDR400 and 800MHz FSB support, Springdale-P will be used in systems on the current Pentium 4 with 533MHz FSB and DDR333. The features of new-generation chipsets are listed in the following table:

Bus bandwidth6.4Gb/s6.4Gb/s6.4Gb/s4.2Gb/s
Memory supportedDDR400/333DDR400/333/266DDR400/333/266DDR333/266
Memory channelsDualDualDualDual
Integrated graphicsn/apresentn/an/a
CSAGb EthernetGb EthernetGb EthernetGb Ethernet
Volume productionQ2 2003Q2 2003Q2 2003Q2 2003
Serial ATASerial ATA 150Serial ATA 150Serial ATA 150Serial ATA 150

Source: PC Watch

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