Sunday, December 04, 2005

Missing Turion MT or INTEL's mafia hand?

AMD has two kinds of Turion 64 mobile CPUs, the MT version has a max power of 25 watts (2 watts below the 27 watt Centrino/Pentium M), the ML version has a max power of 35 watts. The price difference between MT and ML is only $5. See AMD's pricing list.

You can search "Turion MT" on www.froogle.com, and there are a lot of such CPUs for sale plus a couple of notebooks built with this "Centrino killer". Most puzzling is that HP has no notebooks built with Turion MT, only the Turion ML, which tends to have lower battery life. In the US, Averatec seems to be the only company that uses the Turion MT.

What is going on? Is AMD having problem making Turion MT? Judging from the tiny price differential ($5), it does not seem to be the case. Also, you can buy Turion MT CPUs on the internet.

Or, is INTEL doing its dirty work again, limiting HP's use of the Turion CPU by the threat of cutting off Pentium M supply? If you recall the alleged incident that INTEL withheld CPUs to Compaq and forced it to drop AMD products, this kind of conspiracy theory is not that far fetched.

On server and desktop, INTEL is totally knocked out on performance. The only area INTEL is showing relative strength is mobile, there, the ONLY advantage INTEL has is perceived longer battery life. INTEL mobile CPUs have no 64 bit, no NX-bit, no floating point performance, no nothing. Perceived longer battery life is the only thing left there.

I used the word "perceived battery life" because careful tests do not show INTEL having quantifiable advantage. LaptopLogic has a comprehensive benchmark that compares Turion ML 37 (2GHZ, 1MB cache) and Dothan 760 (2GHZ, 2MB cache), the Turion won most of the tests. The Turion ML 37 won 15 tests, the Dothan 760 won 7 tests. The Turion notebook and INTEL Dothan notebook had almost identical battery life, even though ML instead of MT version was used. Considering that the AMD64 platform does not need a separate NB chip, this can be expected.

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