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  AMD's Fab 30, Simply Fabulous 
  Jan 15, 2003, 09:30am EST 

SOI and Hammer

By: Sander Sassen

Much debate has been put towards finding a cause for the fact that AMD delayed the introduction of their Hammer/Athlon-64 CPUs. We’ve been able to ask the very engineers who are responsible for manufacturing these CPUs what caused this and whether the switch to SOI and the use of Partially Depleted SOI where any reason for the delay. They were quick to comment that the switch to SOI and the use of PD-SOI on the Hammer has been met with fewer problems than they expected thus they opted for a partial redesign and further optimization of the Hammer architecture instead, to make it even more competitive with Intel’s offerings.

We all know that AMD had 800MHz working samples back in February of last year and we can tell you straight from the source that the clockspeed of the Hammer CPU that’ll debut soon will be no less than 2GHz but no more than 2.5GHz at launch. The 2GHz will perform similar or slightly better than the 3.06GHz Pentium 4 with HyperThreading and expect higher clocked versions to be more than competitive with even the 3.2GHz Pentium 4 running on the 800MHz FSB Springdale platform. Performance numbers weren’t given but we were able to find out, albeit not from any of the AMD PR people, that the 2GHz part will most likely carry a 3200+ or 3400+ rating.

Fig 5. Video clip, an AMD engineer talking about the Hammer/Athlon-64 motherboard and chipsets.

Not much more was commented about Hammer, we saw the usual (mechanical) samples and got another run down of the features that’ll make Hammer competitive with Intel’s offerings, unfortunately they did not have any working systems or a live demo of the Hammer platform. This is actually in line with what we expected as the Fab 30 facility only manufactures the wafers, these are then shipped off to other facilities for further assembly, so the best chance of seeing a working AMD Hammer system would most likely be in their Sunnyvale headquarters. We were however given the guarantee that we’d be among the first to receive a system for evaluation so we’re hoping to have that in shortly so we can at least get some preliminary results, even if just to satisfy our own curiosity.

1. Introduction
2. CPU Manufacturing
3. Copper Process
4. Quality Control
5. SOI and Hammer
6. Conclusion

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