Introduction To AMD Turion64

Saturday 23 July 2005 @ 6:35 pm

AMD Turion64
Normally, when we talk about laptop processor, the first processor comes into your mind would be Intel Pentium-M, which is used in all Intel Centrino laptops. So, to change this mindset, AMD has released their processors to help capturing more market share in laptop market. So, basically AMD Sempron based laptop is designed to fight head to head with the Intel Celeron M based laptop, which means both are targeting the cheap, entry level laptop market. Whereas on the other hand, AMD Turion64 based laptop is challenging Intel Pentium M based laptop and is aiming to capture the same market segment, for low power consumption yet high performance laptops, that Intel Pentium M based laptops have been dominating so far.

While Intel is proud of their Intel Centrino Mobile Technology, AMD too has their Turion64 chip under the official product name of AMD Turion 64 Mobile Technology.

AMD Turion 64 Mobile Technology Intel Centrino Mobile Technology
Northbridge Provider(s) AMD, On-die Intel, Discrete
Southbridge Provider(s) ATI, NVIDIA, SiS, Uli and VIA Intel
WiFi Card Provider(s) Atheros and Broadcom Intel

From AMD

By using 3rd parties chipset would produce a broader pricing range to Turion64 based laptops according to the chipset specifications.

Depending on the manufacturers’ specifications, the pricing for Turion 64 notebooks can thus vary greatly, possibly allowing for a broader pricing catalogue than Centrino notebooks. If this strategy pays dividends, AMD and its supporting partners will all but benefit in a big way.

By the way, there are 2 series of Turion64 processors, one is Turion 64 MT series, the other is Turion 64 ML series. Turion 64 MT series have been thoroughly tested to function healthily with just as low as Thermal Design Power (TDP) of 25 Watts whereas Turion 64 ML series require 35 Watts to perform within nominal specifications.

“ML” Series
Processor Clock Speed Cache Size Wattage (TDP)
Turion 64 ML-28 1.6GHz 512KB 35W
Turion 64 ML-30 1.6GHz 1MB 35W
Turion 64 ML-32 1.8GHz 512KB 35W
Turion 64 ML-34 1.8GHz 1MB 35W
Turion 64 ML-37 2.0GHz 1MB 35W
Turion 64 ML-40 2.2GHz 1MB 35W
“MT” Series
Processor Clock Speed Cache Size Wattage (TDP)
Turion 64 MT-28 1.6GHz 512KB 25W
Turion 64 MT-30 1.6GHz 1MB 25W
Turion 64 MT-32 1.8GHz 512KB 25W
Turion 64 MT-34 1.8GHz 1MB 25W

From AMD

A processor with a higher wattage means it will inevitably, consume more power and that translates to a hotter running processor and a lower notebook uptime. By virtue of this, the more expensive “MT” Turion 64 processors run cooler of the two series and are naturally the preferred processors for lightweight portable notebooks. Mainstream notebooks are the most likely candidates to be installed with “ML” Turion 64 processors.

The following table gives you a clearer picture of comparing directly between AMD Turion64 and Intel Pentium M:-

Processor AMD Turion64 Intel Pentium M “Dothan”
Manfacturing Process 90nm 90nm
Packaging Socket-754 Socket-479m
Clock Speeds 1.6GHz – 2.0GHz 1.6GHz – 2.13GHz
On-chip L1 Cache 128KB 64KB
On-chip L2 Cache 512KB – 1MB 2MB
64-bit Processing Yes, AMD64 Technology Core None
System Bus Technology HyperTransport at 1,600MHz Full Duplex 533MHz Front Side Bus Half Duplex
Integrated Memory Controller (MCT) Yes None
Total Processor-to-System Bandwidth 9.6GB/s 4.3GB/s
Advance Power Management AMD PowerNow! Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology
Virus Protection Capability Yes, Enhanced Virus Protection Capability Yes, Execute Disable Bit
Wireless Compatibility 802.11a/b/g 802.11a/b/g
3D and Multimedia Instructions 3D Now! Professional Technology, MMX, SSE, SSE2 and SSE3 MMX, SSE and SSE2
Thermal Design Power 25W – 35W 21W – 27W

From AMD

From the table shown, AMD Turion 64 seems to have an edge over Intel Pentium M in term of Integrated Memory Controller, faster System Bus, larger L1 cache, wider processor-to-system bandwidth and 64bit technology. By integrating the memory controller into the AMD Turion64 processor die, it will certainly boosts performance through shorter memory latency between processor and memory. Of course, it loses in term of the L2 cache and Thermal Design Power.

Well, in a nutshell, I do think AMD Turion64 processor has its strengths to compete with Intel Pentium M.

So, next time when you want to buy a laptop, don’t forget to take a look of AMD Turion64 based laptops. :)

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