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By | Tony Smith 10th September 2008 12:49

AMD to target Atom with... Athlon

Old brand, new market

The first thrust of AMD's two-pronged attack on Intel's Atom processor will be launched in November, leaked roadmap slides have revealed.

Last week, we noted after one such bean spillage that November will see the introduction of "AMD Ultra-Value Client (UVC)" processors.

Now, we assumed this was a reference to Geode parts, which have to date been described by AMD as its UVC chippery.

We were wrong. More recent leaks reveal that the chip maker's revamping UVC to take on Atom, specifically Intel's desktop 'Diamondville' processor, shipping now as the 1.6GHz single-core Atom 230 and soon as the dual-core 330.

AMD's slides, posted by Spanish-language site CHW, show the new UVC range will comprise two CPUs: the single-core Athlon 2650e and the dual-core Athlon X2 3250e.

Both CPUs will be paired with AMD's 740 chipsets, and despite the November launch, the 2650e is available to buy already. The 3250e will ship in Q4, the slides say.

The dual-core part will consume up to 22W and run at 1.5GHz. The 2650e is clocked at an Atom-matching 1.6GHz but consumes 15W. Both CPUs have 512KB of L2 cache per core.

Compare that with the 4W TDP Intel quotes for the 230, though the chipset it usually comes with, the 945GC is rated at 22W and you can add 3W more for the southbridge chip.

AMD's slides also boast that while the Atom 230 offers a performance below what AMD classes as a "traditional PC user experience" - whatever that is - its two CPUs perform significantly better than that benchmark.

The UVC CPUs will be sold only to OEMs, so it's clearly being pitched at makers of Small, Cheap Computers. Past tests have show that some old Athlons do outperform the 230, so AMD is undoubtedly hoping its offerings will win over SCC makers and their customers.

"UVC ultra-value solutions provide the PC user experience that customers expect in a power envelope that enables a cost-optimised system," says AMD.

Unless, of course, the dual-core Diamondville, with its four virtual cores - thanks to HyperThreading - can up and the ante further.

The slide also refers to notebook versions of the two UVC desktop chips: "Similar processors are available in S1g1 for notebook UVC configurations." Alas, the slides provide no further details - maybe more will leak out soon.

That's netbooks and nettops taken care of - what about mobile internet devices (MIDs), also a target of Atom? Well will the MID platform thus far failing to catch buyers' attention the way that SCCs have, there's no great rush to release. However, AMD is expected to announce its 'Bobcat' chip in the near future, and that's thought to be aimed at MIDs.

Thanks to reader Felipe for the tip

Low-power CPU Reviews
VIA Nano
Intel Atom 230

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