Fire in the hole!

June 22, 2006

Steven Hilton has put together a hilarious but also very relevant map of the battle against the "Empire of Microsoft." Take a look:

Software Wars

RIP: Socket 939

June 22, 2006

DailyTech is reporting today that AMD is EOLing roughly half of their existing processors. All 1MB cache per core parts are being dropped, some as early as July '06, some not until Q2 '07. Also, the bottom-of-the-heap Athlon 64s, the 3000+ and 3200+, are also getting the axe. So ALL Toledo and San Diego core chips (socket 939) as well as the 2x1MB Windsor parts (socket AM2) are being cut, as well as low-end Venice and Orleans parts (3000+ and 3200+ on both sockets.

This means that the following chips will not be produced any longer:

Socket 939

Single Core

3000+ – 1.8GHz, 512KB cache, Venice (December 31, 2006)
3200+ – 2.0GHz, 512KB cache, Venice (December 31, 2006)
3700+ – 2.2GHz, 1MB cache, San Diego (July 2, 2006)
4000+ – 2.4GHz, 1MB cache, San Diego (July 2, 2006)

Dual Core

X2 4400+ – 2.2GHz, 2x1MB cache, Toledo (December 31, 2006)
X2 4800+ – 2.4GHz, 2x1MB cache, Toledo (Q2 2007)

Socket AM2

Single Core

3000+ – 1.8GHz, 512KB cache, Orleans (Q1 2007)
3200+ – 2.0GHz, 512KB cache, Orleans (Q2 2007)

Dual Core

4000+ – 2.0GHz, 2x1MB cache, Windsor (December 31, 2006)
4400+ – 2.2GHz, 2x1MB cache, Windsor (December 31, 2006)
4800+ – 2.4GHz, 2x1MB cache, Windsor (December 31, 2006)
5200+ – 2.6GHz, 2x1MB cache, Windsor (Immediately)

It doesn't surprise me in the least that AMD is cutting the low-end Venice and Orleans parts. The step up in terms of price to the 3500+ is small (around $20), so there is still an option for those looking to buy an Athlon 64 at a low price point. Besides, as the price war with Intel looms, AMD is probably not looking fondly on low-end, low-margin parts. I suspect slashing the prices of the 3200+ and 3000+ would have seen AMD actually selling these chips at a loss, so they figured it was better to EOL them and cut the price of the 3500+. In any case, by the time 31/12/06 rolls around Revision G should be shipping, so AMD will at least have something new on the market to fill the gap.

What is a little unsettling is the quick death of the San Diego core, notably the 3700+. For the last few months, the 3700+ has definitely represented the best price/performance ratio in a single-core Athlon 64. The death of the 4000+ is understandable – it's top-dog status in the non-FX single-core market demanded a significant price premium for a disparate performance increase over the 3700+. As such, it probably never sold very well. But with the 3700+ shipping for the last time in July, AMD is pulling what I think is it's best single-core chip from the market without bringing anything new to the table. My feeling is that since the larger cache of the San Diego chips means lower production and lower margins, AMD can't afford to slash the price very much. And since it can't very well sell the 3700+ for more than the 512KB cache 3800+, AMD would rather pull this chip completely.

A tricky situation for AMD for sure, but these next few months will be exciting times for consumers.