Latest AMD Chips Use Less Power

SAN JOSE, CALIF. — It’s all about power — less power.

Energy efficiency was the theme at In-Stat’s Processor Forum, where AMD kicked things off with a “less-is-more” announcement.

The No. 2 chipmaker said its latest desktop processors, Athlon 64 X2 dual-core, AMD 64 and AMD Sempron, will be available in a more efficient, better performance-per-watt design this month.

AMD expects the new chips to facilitate more compact and “elegant” business and consumer PC designs.

“This is a good, small step for AMD,” Insight64 analyst Nathan Brookwood told

Brookwood said AMD basically borrowed a page from Intel in utilizing some of the energy saving advances from its mobile processors for the desktop.

“AMD is now using better power management and also adding DDR-2 memory,” which Intel’s had for a while, said Brookwood.

“I’m just astonished that AMD has been able to be so competitive on energy efficiency with Intel because they haven’t done the kind of deep review of all its components that Intel has with its greater resources.”

In his keynote address, AMD senior fellow Chuck Moore extolled the virtues of energy efficiency and gave the audience a quick sneak-peak of a future AMD quad-core processor.

Quad-core processors from AMD aren’t expected until next year, while analysts expect top chipmaker Intel to deliver its first quad-core processor by the end of this year, or the first quarter of 2007.

Brookwood said that while AMD may be later to the quad-core game than Intel, he believes it will have the better performance.

“I call Intel a ‘quasi-quad core’ because it’s really two dual-cores together,” Brookwood said. “AMD has a truer quad-core design from the ground up.”

The advantage of multi-core design is that various processing can run in parallel, which makes it ideal for servers that support multiple applications and users.

AMD’s Moore also said his company is actively exploring ways to expand opportunities for co-processors.

Some vendors still use graphics co-processors, a fixture in many PCs in the 1980s and 1990s.

But thanks to chip innovations, a lot of that functionality, such as early math and graphics co-processor cards, are now integrated into the main processor.

“We’re evaluating many different opportunities for third parties and there might be some opportunities for us to offer them as well,” Moore told

Moore said AMD is considering creating a media co-processor and possibly one specific to improving the performance of Java.

News Around the Web