AMD's new 65-nanometer chips sip energy but trail Intel

Several reviews are in for Advanced Micro Devices' latest microprocessors, and while the new chips don't bridge the gap between AMD and Intel's latest chips, they do run cooler than the company's previous offerings.

AMD's 65-nanometer chips, which started to trickle out of its factories earlier this month, are basically just a smaller version of its dual-core 90-nanometer chips. AMD did not introduce any major new features to improve performance along with its 65-nanometer chips, but the new manufacturing technology does allow it to build chips that use less power and are smaller. Smaller chips mean that AMD can yield more working chips from the silicon wafers produced by its chipmaking equipment, helping to reduce the incremental cost of building a chip.

The new chips are rated for a thermal design power of 65 watts of power, according to a review by the Tech Report. That's the same number attached to Intel's Core 2 Duo chips, although the companies measure power consumption in slightly different ways. In a basic sense, it's the number that system builders should take into account for the processor when designing the cooling systems for their PCs.

Actual system power consumption is higher when you take into account all the other components inside a PC, but systems with AMD's new chips still tend to consume less power than systems with Intel's, Tech Report said in its review. However, Intel still owns the overall performance crown by a significant margin, according to Anandtech's review.

AMD's new 65nm processors were never expected to be its answer to the Core 2 Duo processors, which ended AMD's run as the performance leader in the desktop market. But tests by Anandtech and others confirm the smaller chipmaker will have to wait until next year to attempt to regain performance leadership.

Next year, AMD plans to introduce new performance-oriented features--such as a shared memory cache--into its dual-core chips and release quad-core chips for servers and possibly high-end desktops, according to at an analyst meeting.

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