This morning we received delicate details about AMD??™s answer to Intel??™s Montevina design from our moles in Taiwan. The information we received could get you concerned about the new mobile processor Griffin as well as the Puma platform. Since our sources inside AMD confirmed the information, we have reason to believe that the Puma story might get ugly.
If you think about characteristics and features a mobile platform requires, the answer always boils down to power consumption. And according to our sources, power consumption is exactly AMD??™s problem with Puma. It seems that AMD is in trouble and created a processor that actually consumes more power than its predecessor. If Griffin eats more juice than AMD??™s Turn-me-on (Turion 64), take a guess what the main problem will be when AMD is trying to be getting those mobile design wins?
The 780M chipset for Puma is not really different than the already existing desktop-based 780G chipset (it will use the RS780M Northbridge and SB700 Southbridge chips). But AMD didn't spare a dime to get the most recent TSMC production line for RS780M, which takes the chipset on a power diet, we hear.
The Griffin processor itself, however, is an in-between product of the K8 and K10 architectures: The processing cores belong to the old world, while the power optimization of memory controller/Northbridge and HyperTransport 3 are taken from the Barcelona/Agena generation of CPUs. Griffin also comes with three independent power planes (Barcelona/Agena has only two).
Performance-wise, we were told that Griffin won??™t be able to match Intel??™s Core 2 Duo speed, which will be an obvious problem. However, Puma could be running circles around Montevina as soon as you mention the term 3D. RS780M is expected to be a much stronger (DirectX 10) graphics engine than what the Santa Rosa platform offers. But we will have to wait for Intel??™s new Montevina platform to get a better idea of how the rivalry will pan out.
Regardless Intel's 45 nm design has the edge and and consumes less power. However, the current situation apparently prompted AMD to adjust its marketing message, stating that it is focused on delivering ???balanced??? platforms. An AMD source told us that "Griffin will not be able to touch Core 2 Duo", which is quite a bombastic statement coming from a senior source.
It was explained to us that AMD does not care that much about CPU performance anymore, but rather about the platform performance. This goes in line with Nvidia's efforts, but the reason for this shifted message at AMD might lie somewhere else.