Advanced Micro Devices Inc. has essentially exited the Athlon chipset market, focusing its design work on multiprocessor implementations and the upcoming 64-bit Hammer family.
AMD, Sunnyvale, Calif., phased out its AMD-760 chipset a few weeks ago, and motherboard vendors report that the company has no plans for a replacement. In an interview Tuesday, Tim Wright, director of desktop marketing for AMDs Computer Products Group, confirmed this was true.
"The 760 went (end-of-life) a few weeks ago and we dont have any plans for socket A desktop chipsets on our roadmaps," Wright said.
The move is entirely consistent with AMDs stated strategy of seeding the market with a stable chipset platform, then exiting it in favor of dedicated chipset suppliers. Three third-party chipset suppliers currently support the Athlon: Acer Laboratories Inc., Nvidia Corp., and Via Technologies Inc. AMD also manufactures the AMD 760MP for multiprocessor servers.
Instead, AMD is moving on to components for the upcoming 64-bit Hammer family, due in the fourth quarter of 2002 with the first part, Clawhammer, designed for high-end desktops and low-end servers. The Hammer technology will be built around HyperTransport, a scalable bidirectional point-to-point connection that will allow designers to create a modular system, and one not necessarily tied to the microprocessor-north bridge-south bridge-memory architecture usually found in PCs.
In an interview at the Microprocessor Forum in October, Fred Weber, vice-president of engineering for AMD, said the company would design and sell HyperTransport components, which he dubbed "chiclets". The chips, which AMD formally calls "tunnels", will include all of the familiar chipset components.
"AMD is working on all aspects, including desktops, mobile and servers, in classic architecture stages, such as video, south bridges, and a couple other things related to servers," Wright said Tuesday afternoon.