Yesterday AMD announced that it had gone "65nm" with a range of 65W "energy efficient" processors, work that AMD carried out in conjunction with IBM. AMD claim that these CPUs use just under 50% of the power needed to drive the Intel Core 2 Duo.
The four new chips are existing 90nm processors refabricated to 65nm - the AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+, 4400+, 4800+, and 5000+. After the Athlon 64 X2, next in line for a trim will be the AMD's notebook and server processor lines. This should be completed by some as yet unspecified time in 2007. This shrinking in the manufacturing process means less power is needed to run the CPU, which in turn means less heat is produced. So the CPU can be clocked faster to increase power but still keeping the power requirements down (a good thing in notebooks). This will bring the user a small power saving and a quieter PC all round because less cooling is required.
But how much more efficient will the new 65nm AMD processors be compared to, say, the Intel Core 2 Duo? It's hard to say because of the difficulties in comparing power loads for the two CPUs in real-world computing environments, but I don’t see it being an awful lot.
Prices for the new 65nm processors will be the same as that for the existing 90nm range. And this is the boring part. Same clock speeds, same prices. Nothing new to see here.
However, there's no power-savings planned for the Quad FX line. Despite being severely criticized for high power consumption, the Quad FX roadmap will remain at 125W for all of 2007.
AMD is also planning to catch up with Intel when it comes to 45nm architecture too while Intel has announced test samples of the 45nm "Penryn" processors are available. 45nm could be a real opportunity for AMD but this is a good 18 months away at best, Intel will once again beat them to the mark.