AMD Second-Generation “Stars” Plans Unveiled

AMD’s latest roadmap outlines plans for second-generation Stars quad, dual and single-core processors. Five second-generation Stars processors are in the pipeline for 2H’2008. The five variants include quad-core Deneb FX and Deneb, dual-core Propus and Regor, and single-core Sargas. The new processors drop into new Socket AM3 and AM2+ motherboards for backwards compatibility.

All second-generation Stars processors have new memory controllers with DDR3 and DDR2 memory compatibility. Taking advantage of DDR3 memory requires the use of a Socket AM3 motherboard. Socket AM2+ users can upgrade to second-generation Stars processors with a memory bandwidth penalty.

Second-generation Stars processors introduce AMD’s 45nm fabrication process. AMD plans to make a quick move to 45nm. The entire product lineup will move to 45nm within 2H’2008, unlike the move to 65nm, which began Q4’2006 and is still in process.

Succeeding Agena FX and Agena processors are the Deneb FX and Deneb cores. AMD has not set any specific details such as cache configuration or HyperTransport speeds yet. However, Deneb FX and Deneb processors will carry on with shared L3 caches and HyperTransport 3.0. AMD will offer Deneb FX in Socket AM2+/AM3 and land-grid array 1207+ socket configurations. Expect Deneb FX and Deneb cores to carry the Phenom FX and Phenom X4 names.

AMD’s Propus replaces Kuma in 2H’2008. Propus shares the same feature set as Kuma such as HyperTransport 3.0 and shared L3, however, specific cache sizes are unset. Expect Propus to continue with the Phenom X2 brand.

The AMD Athlon X2 Rana processor will have a short life span. AMD expects to debut the 65nm entry-level dual-core processor in 1H’2008 and replace it in 2H’2008 with Regor. Spica will face the same fate as Rana.

The single-core Spica has a half-year life cycle before Sargas in 2H’2008 replaces it. Expect Regor to carry the Athlon X2 name while Sargas carries the Sempron name. Features of the value AMD processors should be no different from its predecessors, with the exception of DDR3 memory support.