AMD Morgan

AMD’s Duron family of processors have succeeded in winning the company a significant share in the value PC market segment since its appearance in mid-2000. Whilst it may not of always been able to beat Celeron-based systems from rival Intel on price alone, it can generally claim to have offered the best low-cost solutions for performance systems.

The Morgan represents a unification of AMD’s line of processors, essentially being the Palomino core with 3/4 of its L2 cache removed – 64KB as opposed to 256KB. In all other respects the new core – which has grown in die size to 106mm2 and a transistor count of 25.18 million – is identical to its bigger sibling, offering exactly the same data prefetch, TLB and SSE enhancements.

However, unlike the transition from Thunderbird to Palomino, the transition from Spitfire to Morgan is not accompanied by a reduction in power consumption. In fact, the opposite is true! One explanation for this apparent anomaly is that the core voltage has been increased from 1.6V to 1.75V – the same as in the Palomino. This should not be a problem since heat dissipation is less of an issue with the Duron range than it is with AMD’s mainstream desktop CPUs – because of the smaller die size.

The Duron range’s move to the Morgan core is an evolutionary step forward that is likely to further increase AMD’s market share in the value PC sector. Furthermore, the cost/performance of the Duron range can be expected to become more attractive still once the price of DDR SDRAM has fallen to a level that justifies use of this high-performance memory in low-cost systems.