"Hammer" to hold 100 million transistors

Thanks [AMD]-SimGuy for the heads up. A chip with that many transistors is currently considered unusual. But when Hammer chips emerge in the first half of 2003, processors of that complexity will become increasingly common. That's because designers are increasing the size of caches, which are reservoirs of memory located on the processor for rapid data access, and adding other features.

Details of AMD's forthcoming chip have been leaking out. The largest version of Hammer, for instance, will have 1MB of secondary cache, as well as an integrated memory controller for connecting the processor to a PC's memory, according to the company. Currently, memory controllers mostly sit on their own piece of silicon.

Hammer is a "100 million transistor machine," CEO Hector Ruiz said in a recent interview. AMD chief scientist Bill Siegel, meanwhile, said recently at the company's analyst meeting that the chip will have about 2.5 times as many transistors as the current Athlon chip. The Athlon has about 38 million transistors, so by Siegel's count the total for Hammer would be approximately 95 million. The company would not provide a specific number.

The chip will debut at around 2GHz and come out with a performance rating number in the mid-3,000s, added Dirk Meyer, senior vice president of AMD's computational products group. Current Athlon performance ratings top out at 2,800. The ratings correspond roughly to the speed of Intel chips, so an AMD Athlon XP 2800+ would perform like a 2.8GHz Intel Pentium 4.

News source: CNET News - "Hammer" to hold 100 million transistors

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