Kuma is Coming: AMD's Updated Fall Lineup
Subject: Processors | August 27, 2008 - 10:51 AM | Josh Walrath
Yesterday AMD sent out a nice little email to their channel partners detailing some upcoming products that will be detailed more thoroughly on September 1. The first bit of info is that an updated version of the Phenom 9950 is going to be released, and the big news about this is that the TDP has been dropped from 140 watts to a much more palatable 125 watts. I have a sneaking suspicion that the 9950 that AMD sent me with the 790GX motherboard is one of these 125 watt processors, because at full bore it is approximately 64 watts higher in power at the socket than the 9350e (which is a 65 watt processor) on an identical system. This is good news for AMD, as their top end processor is now easier to get a motherboard for. It also should give a little bit more headroom for overclocking. AMD's 65 nm process has certainly had an interesting history, and they have certainly refined it enough to make their quad core parts a lot less power hungry than they initially were.
The second announcement is that a new Black Edition product will be hitting the streets, this time based on the Toliman core. The new Phenom 8750 BE will have the same 2.4 GHz clockspeed as the non-unlocked version, but considering AMD's progress in getting better performing Phenoms out the door as of late, it should be pretty easy to take these numbers to 3.0 GHz and above. Throw in a dose of ACC and it could be a pretty cost effective enthusiast part for the AMD side. This appears to still be a 95 watt part. While it is not exactly new and exciting, it is another good option for people working within a set budget who want multi-core performance and the ability to tweak their processors.
The final announcement deals with the legendary "Kuma" processor. Originally AMD was going to release a dual core version based on the Phenom architecture shortly after Phenom came to market. This was not to be. Then came rumors that Kuma was cancelled and the first dual core part based on the Phenom architecture would be a 45 nm part and aimed at the budget arena. Apparently that was just a rumor, and Kuma is in fact coming to town. The first iterations of this product may not be mind-boggling though. Many had assumed that since it was a dual core version of Phenom, that it would be clocked significantly higher without breaking 65 watts. This does not appear to be the case though, as some leaked materials point to the fastest Kuma product being 2.3 GHz and possibly a 45 watt part. AMD is going to offer the high end Kuma as a Black Edition, so overclocking this part could be somewhat interesting. I would imagine that the upper end of the OC spectrum would be near the same as what the current Phenom Black Editions are able to do, but these still should pull less power at that speed and be slightly cooler.
AMD is not sitting still while they are ramping up 45 nm production, and they certainly cannot afford to considering that the first 45 nm parts will all be aimed at the server market where margins are a whole lot fatter. Until enthusiasts can get their hands on desktop 45 nm parts at the end of this year, they will have to be content to continue playing with these more refined 65 nm Phenom parts. On September 1 we should be hearing a lot more about these upcoming parts.