AMD details its Turion mobile processor

Mobile Athlon 64 by any other name?

CeBIT 2005 AMD today introduced its Turion 64 processor, the chip it hopes will help it wrest dominance of the notebook CPU market from Intel's Centrino.

The chip family provides much the same feature set as the 754-pin Mobile Athlon 64 for thin'n'light notebooks, such as 64-bit processing, AMD's PowerNow! power conservation system, on-board memory manager and so on. All of which suggests Turion really is just an exercise in branding. As is calling it a "Mobile Technology" rather than a mobile microprocessor.

Depending on configuration, the Turion chips contain either 512KB or 1MB of on-die L2 cache. All the versions offer 128KB of L1 cache, support for a HyperTransport bus clocked at up to 1.6GHz, and the ability to deal with single-channel DDR SDRAM with ECC running at up to 400MHz.

The 90nm chips have a maximum power draw of 25 or 35W, with CPU clocks running from 1.6GHz to 2GHz. They support Intel's SSE 3 SIMD multimedia instructions, along with 'no execute' bit anti-virus support.

AMD introduced yet another model numbering scheme, separating the Turion line from both the Opteron and Athlon 64 ranges. The new chips have an 'M', for mobile, followed by a second letter, the higher up the alphabet it is, the more 'mobile' the processor, apparently. After that comes a number designed to convey how clock speed and cache size combine to give performance.

The chip maker nonetheless insisted on stressing the chips "wireless compatibilty", even though there's no on-board WLAN adaptor. Really, Turion is no more "wireless compatible" than any other modern mobile microprocessor.

AMD said seven Turion models, the ML 30, 32, 34 and 37, and the MT 30 and 32, are available immediately, but vendors aren't expecting to ship machines until late next month, we note. Vendors giving the thumbs-up to the new chip include Acer, Asus, Averatec, BenQ, MSI and Packard Bell.

The chips prices run from $184 to $354, with the 25W MT parts costing more than the 35W ML chips, at the same clock-speed and cache size. The ML-37, ML-34, ML-32, ML-30, MT-34, MT-32, and MT-30 are priced at $354, $263, $220, $184, $268, $225 and $189, respectively. ®

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