Wondering what's in store from the computer industry in 2005? PCstats had a look at the following
set of roadmaps from the Japanese website WinPC Annex, and they detail everything from AMD's move
to 90nm SOI manufacturing process on its 'San Diego' core, to the dual
core Athlon64 FX 'Toledo' processors due in late 2005. The Intel and
AMD roadmaps also cover the slew of motherboard chipsets to be released in
the coming months, along with information on new and
upcoming Videocard GPU's. Each of WinPC Annex's spreadsheets covers the
anticipated tech releases from now until fourth quarter of 2005... which of course are open to change
at any moment.
Processor Highlights for 2005
The AMD Athlon64 CPU is expected to continue on with
90nm SOI manufacturing process well into 2005, with the addition of SSE3
instructions on both the 'Venice', 'San Diego', and 'Palermo' cores. All of
which are socket 939 processors; signaling the death call for socket 754 by
Q3'05. The high end Athlon64 FX will be transition from 130nm SOI manufacturing process to 90nm
SOI, and migrating to a dual core architecture with its 'San Diego' and 'Toledo' chips
by Q2-Q3 2005.
On the Athlon64 chipset front, there are surprisingly few
releases outlined. The nVidia nForce 4 has already been released for the socket
939 Athlon64 processor, while the ATI Radeon Xpress 200P still remains to be
proven by comparison. With the PCI Express videocard formfactor
remaining elusively below manufacturers expectations, I wouldn't expect
ATI to release its Athlon64 compatible Xpress 200P till sometime around CeBit
2005 at the earliest. VIA chipsets
continue with where the popular K8T800 Pro left off with the much delayed K8T890 and K8T890 Pro
(SLI compatible variation).
The SIS 756 Athlon64 PCI Express chipset should release
in early 2005, but few typically adopt SIS' offerings. On the mainstream front
AMD users will have better pickings as the Radeon Xpress 200 (X300 graphics) and
RS482 chipsets release, while SIS push out the SIS 761GX with integrated
Mirage1 DX7 graphics, and SIS 770 with PCI Express support and integrated
Mirage3 DX9 graphics. VIA will be introducing its K8M890 which supports PCI
Express and features integrated DX9 DeltaChrome graphics. Thus, while the demand
for PCI Express is incredibly low right now, the entire computer industry is
moving from AGP8X to PCI Express x16 video cards
in 2005; which should boost up demand by leveling the playing fields across Intel and
AMD based systems.
Intel and moves to socket 775 / 1066MHz
Speaking of which, Intel users are in store for a lot of
change as the CPU giant increases FSB speeds from 533MHz/800MHz to 1066MHz
across the board by Q3 2005. With respect to its Pentium 4 and Pentium 4 Extreme
Edition CPUs, not a lot is changing other than the addition of 2MB extra cache in
early 2005. The Prescott-based FSB 1066MHz P4 EE and FSB 800MHz P4 6xx
series will each get the 2MB cache treatment, starting in Q2'05. After
that, the high end 'Smithfield' and 65nm 'CedreMill' cores will be introduced to
the socket 775 platform sometime in Q3'2005. For value conscious consumers, Intel
will continue to produce the sluggish Celeron D 3xx series on the 533MHz/800MHz
FSB well into 2005 for both socket 478 and socket 775 platforms. As the lifespan of the socket 478 Pentium 4 draws
to a close with the end of 2004, so to does the upgrade options for
current Intel systems.
Chipset-wise the field is pretty cluttered in 2005 with
releases from Intel, SIS, VIA, and ATI... athough no indications are yet
available for the anticipated release of nVidia chipsets for the Pentium 4.
Intel has of course introduced its 925X, 915P, 915G, and 925XE chipsets to very
disappointing demand, largely due to the costs of all new processor,
motherboard, memory, and videocard. Still, the variants on the 915 core logic
are proving most popular, and Intel 915GV and 910GL-base solutions have been
popping up here and there. Looking forward through 2005, about the only major
additions to upcoming Intel chipsets 'Glenwood' and 'Lakeport' are the 1066MHz
Front Side Bus (FSB), DDR-2 667 memory, and Serial
ATA2 (sATA-2) care of the Intel ICH7 Southbridge. Not the most compelling feature set from
the outset, but SATA-2 does support data transfer rates up to 300MB/sec - twice the speed of SATA.
The SIS 655TX was a good chipset which found success on a small scale, and as
2005 unfolds the company plans to introduce the SIS656 (DDR2-667, PCI Express)
and SIS656FX in Q2'05 which will support DDR-2 800 memory. On the mainstream
front SIS' offerings are limited to the SIS649, SIS662, and SIS670. The latter
two of which feature DDR-2 667 memory support, integrated DX7 Mirage1 and
DX9 Mirage3 graphics. ATI produces a powerful videocard GPU, but its motherboard
chipsets have quickly fallen into the whirlpool of System Integrator (SI) class
solutions on the market. Core logic releases from this company are not projected
past the RS400, which is a DDR-2 / PCI Express solution with integrated
Radeon 9600 DX89 graphics. VIA on the other hand have even fewer Intel chipsets
slated for release in 2005, though its 'PT' series are of note as being one of
the few SLI compatible chipsets for the Intel platform.
In Q1'2005, the VIA PT894 and PT894 Pro will bring with them support for
DDR2-667 and PCI Express. The VIA PT894 with a single PCI Express x1 slot, and
the VIA PT894 Pro with two PCI Express x16 slots. The only other chipset
currently road-mapped to support a dual PCI Express x16 configuration is the ULI
M1685 chipset, which is unlikely to see much mainstream adoption. By the second
half of 2005, VIA will have its PM890 available which may be SLI compatible...
we're not entirely sure. The PM890 looks to be one of the few AGP8X / PCI
Express solutions, with integrated UniChrome3 DX9 graphics.
Videocard Highlights for 2005
The videocard situation never rests, and 2004 has been
inundated with far too many product releases to match actual video game needs.
Doom 3 may have been a driving force, but the widely popular Half Life 2 game is
far easier on consumers with +1 or +2 year old video cards. Still, companies like
ATI and nVidia need to release new products if they are to continue to support
their massive investments in R&D, and so there are plenty of GPUs road-mapped
for release on both sides of the red and green fence in 2005. Starting with ATI,
Q4'04 has seen the introduction of the Radeon X850, X800, and
X700 videocards; all of which are PCI Express x16 solutions based on 110nm
or 130nm Low-K manufacturing process. By mid-2005 the Radeon R5xx series will
emerge with a set of shinny new 90nm GPUs.
nVidia on the other hand have been through the whole HSI
bridge diversion, and are now clearly setting their sites on native PCI Express
GPUs. The 110nm (TSMC Fab'd) NV47 is anticipated in Q1-Q2 2005, with the 90nm
(IBM Fab'd) NV50 following late Q3'05. For those consumers holding on to their
AGP8X motherboards, its seems the GeForce 6800 and 6600 are the only, and
possibly last, solutions forecast on that front. The just released Geforce
6200 Shader 3.0 / PCI Express card picks up the lower end markets.
The wildly unsuccessful XGI Volari continues to kick the
dirt, and aims for better prosperity with its XG48 and XG5x PCI Express Shader
3.0 solutions. XGI was quickly relegated to the 'value markets,' and may
continue to service this segment with the Volari V3XT all year long. VIA
have a few videocard solutions of their own, including the GammaChromeF11 and
Those are the highlights, take a moment to browse though
each of the roadmaps yourself!