Some reasons of AMD Hammer and Barton delays
Continuing the Friday news about AMD ClawHammer and Barton release delays, we are now have reasons of this, some of which are presented by AMD, some conjectured by journalists. So, AMD Zone referring to internal AMD sources, states:
- The Hammer core requires additional redesign, as the existing circuitry doesn´t enable satisfactory clock rates at the moment of release. It will take an additional metallization layerm similar to used in Thoroughbred-B. All this will require some time.
- SOI process technology is not as stable, as evaluated earlier. Wafer yield is very low. Now even IBM has problems with SOI launch, but unlike AMD, IBM can conpensate the low yield of high-end Power4 chips by high sale prices. According to provisional data, AMD already has an alternative production plan without SOI, in case it doesn´t justify expectations.
- Memory controller, integrated into Hammer, is a double-edged weapon. On the one hand, its usage raises chip performance by 10-20% against a traditional CPU. On the other hand, such integration lowers scalability and hampers the subsequent clock rate increase. The new core revision is to solve this and other problems of current Hammer samples.
- Anyway, Hammers won´t spread widely until the middle of Q2 2003. If there´s a need to use a SOI-less process technology, the delay might long until the end of the second quarter.
According to Extremetech, referring to a letter from AMD, Barton is delayed to enable the company to introduce Athlon XP with 333 MHz FSB without any problems. According to Prudential Securities, small amounts of complete Thoroughbred-B revisions are already being produced. Volume production will be launched in 12-13 weeks, i.e. in a quarter.
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