AMD HAS BEEN PROMISING for some time to deliver chips made on its 65nm fabrication process by the end of 2006. The year's end is perilously close, but a small package arrived at Damage Labs last week bearing evidence of AMD's success: a pair of 65nm Athlon 64 X2 processors. Looks like they've just made it in under the wire. In fact, Athlon 64 X2 processors built in this 65nm process are filtering out into the market now.
Process shrinks often bring with them some nice benefits, because smaller chips tend to require less voltage, consume less power, and generate less heat. They also sometimes allow more headroom for clock frequency increases. The question is: how is AMD doing on these fronts? What benefits does its 65nm process bring to the Athlon 64 X2? Let's have a look.