AMD's Desktop Palomino Core to Ship in Q3
Posted By Van Smith
Date: August 29, 2001
An AMD representative has informed VHJ that the CPU company will ship a newly enhanced 32-bit desktop processor in Q3. Both laptop and server versions of a CPU core, codenamed "Palomino," have been available for several months. Early this year AMD promised that the highly anticipated desktop flavor of this CPU design would ship in the third quarter and the chipmaker appears to be making good on that commitment.
Remains on target
Recent Internet news stories have suggested that the
number two chipmaker has delayed shipment of the Palomino desktop processor
until Q4. Not so, according to AMD spokesman Damon Muzny. "AMD
remains on target for production shipment of the desktop Palomino processors in Q3 of this year," Muzny
Mr. Muzny refused to comment on rumors that the yet unnamed desktop Palomino is, in fact, already shipping.
Benefits of the new design
The desktop Palomino will bring enhancements such as SSE compatibility and hardware prefetching. Although AMD pioneered desktop floating point vectorized processing with "3DNow!," the Palomino is now also compatible with Intel's similar instruction set extension, SSE. This addition will enable enhanced performance on applications optimized for SSE. Performance boosts as great as 80% can be enjoyed in certain specific tasks for applications that have been optimized for SSE instead of "3DNow!."
With hardware data prefetching, the Palomino can better utilize available memory throughput. On certain tasks the CPU can anticipate memory requests and automatically have the data available for processing ahead of time. Applications that sift through large amounts of memory such as media encoders should benefit most from hardware prefetching.
The Palomino also introduces a failsafe mechanism that will protect the chip from potential "burnout." With the inclusion of an integrated thermal sensor, the chip will automatically shut down if overheating conditions are encountered. A similar mechanism exists in Intel Pentium III and Pentium 4 processors.
Perhaps the greatest innovation introduced with the Palomino are its significantly reduced power demands from previous Athlon designs. Since current Athlons are "thermally limited" at high clock speeds (meaning that the limitations of practical cooling solutions are the main reason the chips cannot run faster), reducing power consumption should enable the Palomino to ramp to higher speeds over its older "Thunderbird" predecessor.