On Day 3 of Comdex, Harry and I made a last stop at the AMD meeting room to meet AMD PR Damon Muzny.
Having witnessed Intel's implementation of Hyper-threading Technology on their newest 3.06 GHz Pentium4 processor, we asked Damon how AMD plans to play the ball game. Damon frankly replied that AMD has no plans to implement a similar type of technology on their CPUs for several reasons:
1.) Because AMD Athlon-based processors had a clear performance advantage over the "other guys", the "other guys" had to modify their CPU to make it compete better. Upon reflection, we can see how Intel had to double the L2 cache and devise Hyper-Threading for the Northwoods in order to best the AMD Athlon XPs.
2.) Barton is coming out with higher clock speeds, a higher 166 MHz FSB, and on top of that, 512K of L2 cache.
3.) Lastly, AMD is focusing most of their effort at Hammer and Athlon-64 (the name for the desktop variant of the AMD Hammer 64-bit processor).
Unfortunately, we did not get to see the Hammer in action, as we arrived at closing time, but Damon assured us that Hammer is ready and fully functional. From what Damon said, the Hammer is an awesome and revolutionary CPU. First, it will have run off 400 MHz FSB. Second, HyperTransport will allow direct connection between the CPU and the memory and the AGP/PCI slots, essentially bypassing the detour of a Northbridge. Third, Hammer/Athlon-64 will support soon-to-follow 64-bit software applications, as well as being backward-compatible with current 32-bit convention. The launch of Hammer will also place AMD in a great position by offering an economical and valuable product for corporations during this time of recession: companies will not have to totally revamp their hardware and learn new technology given this backward-compatible 64-bit solution. As Damon put it, the Hammer offers "free 64-bit processing" at no extra charge.
In conclusion, Damon invited us in and showed a display mounted with many samples of working Hammer motherboards and some of the newest Nforce2 and KT400-based motherboards.