August 2000 Industry Update

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Processor Update

Intel Processors

As expected, Intel announced their 1.13GHz PIII processor, though availability seems to be close to zero for most buyers. The 1GHz processor, announced in March, is now becoming more readily accessible, though pricing is a bit steep at over $1200. The 933MHz and lower processors, however, seem to be shipping in volume and pricing appears to be quite good.

Though the official roadmap from June shows that the 1.1GHz processor would be the end of the line for the PIII, Intel has announced that they will tweak their process one more time. Reportedly, Intel will shrink the die to .15u or even .13u, and ramp the speeds to 1.4 GHz. This is apparently because of the stiff competition from AMD in the GHz race.

There have been some rumors that the P4 will be delayed because of chipset issues, though I have not heard anything reliable regarding this. Intel appears to be on schedule to deliver the ‘several hundred thousand’ P4 processors in Q4 that they promised, which will primarily be targeted to the server and workstation market. Intel also has indicated that they may be offering single channel DRDRAM and SDRAM capable versions of the Tehama chipset, depending upon the pricing of DRDRAM at the end of the year.

AMD Processors

As part of their guidance to investors, AMD indicated that they were ‘sold out’ of Athlon processors for Q3. What this actually means is that OEMs and distributors have given the indication of what their anticipated requirements will be during Q3, and these expected bookings will take all of the scheduled production of 3.6M Athlons. It doesn’t mean that parts won’t be available in the channel, however, things can change very rapidly in this industry, so almost anything is possible.

Until recently, Duron systems seemed to be non-existent. The reason appears to be due to lack of motherboard choices and motherboard component availability issues. Resellers I’ve spoken to indicate that while AMD processors in general are selling very well, the Duron doesn’t appear to be as popular as anticipated because of motherboard prices. This could be an issue for the next several months, however if AMD actually does end up shipping all they have produced, the point is moot from AMD’s end.

AMD will be releasing their 1.1GHz Athlon this month, and there is some speculation that a 1.2GHz will soon follow. However, AMD indicated that faster speeds would not be released until Q4, and given that they appear to all but own the high-end of the processor market there doesn’t seem to be any real reason for doing so.

The Mustang is still on schedule for Q4, which will include up to 1MB of L2 cache and will be targeted at the server and workstation market. This will require the use of a new chipset that supports SMP, which is reportedly going to be called the AMD 760MP. While there were some rumors that Sledgehammer (K8, or x86-64) would be released in Q4 of this year, but official sources indicate that it won’t be ready until mid-2001.

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