AMD has already commenced shipping the Duron 950 to both OEM and retail channels, so expect immediate availability on this processor. In contrast to the Athlon 1.4GHz (which was also launched today) we couldn't find the Duron 950 on Pricewatch, but hopefully retailers will begin listing it shortly.
Here's the up-to-date pricing info on the Duron line of processors:
|Duron Prices in 1,000 unit quantities (source: AMD)
The Duron 900 dives 21% in price with the launch of the Duron 950, which is priced at $122 in 1,000 unit quantities (which is priced slightly more aggressive than Duron 900 which launched at $129). In a similar fashion, the Duron 850 and 800MHz also drop 21% in price. This is a fairly significant drop in AMD's pricing structure for the Duron, AMD's May price cuts dropped prices on the Duron line by 10%.
As a result, this marks a low from an average selling price (ASP) perspective. Today's Duron line sells at an ASP of $88.8 while the ASP in May was $98.3, a drop of 10%. AMD's Duron line reached a high of $110 back in April; we're beginning to wonder if we'll see those levels again anytime this year. With AMD preaching higher quarterly ASPs to investors, this lowering pricing structure could rear its ugly head in late Q2/early Q3; we'll keep our eyes peeled to see how things turn out.
With the release of Athlon 4 last month, the secret is out on the enhancements we'll see in Morgan. The microarchitecture of the core has been redesigned to improve power consumption, while the circuit implementation has been redesigned to reduce circuit drive strength, resulting in smaller transistors that consume less power. For Athlon, the result is a 20% reduction in power consumption; AMD hasn't released figures for Duron to date.
In addition to lower power consumption, Morgan will also possess AMD's 3DNow! Professional technology, essentially this is the combination of AMD's previous 3DNow! extensions with the inclusion of 52 new instructions, giving Morgan full support of Intel's SSE technology.
One of the primary additions to the new Morgan architecture is data prefetching. With it, the processor looks for regular access patterns in memory access, predicts which data will be necessary next, and fetches and places that data into the processor's L2 cache before it's actually needed. This increases processor performance as it essentially reduces the latency of the processor in accessing memory, especially in data-intensive applications that retrieve lots of data.
Another major benefit is the increase in the number of entries in the L1 data translation look-aside buffer (TLB) and the L2 TLB's (both instruction and data TLBs) new exclusive architecture. The TLB stores translated addresses needed by the processor to access main memory. With the increased number of entries implemented in Morgan, the probability of the processor finding the address it needs is increased. If the CPU can't find the address in the TLB, the performance penalty can be pretty significant.
By moving to an exclusive architecture in the L2 TLBs, entries aren't duplicated between L1 and L2 TLBs, increasing the amount of effective entry space. If you recall, AMD moved to an exclusive cache architecture with Thunderbird, well now they're taking that technology down to the TLBs. This probably won't be as much of a benefit as the addition of hardware prefetch, and again, the performance improvement will be more pronounced in data-intensive applications.
The final additions to Morgan include AMD's PowerNow! Technology and an integrated thermal diode for monitoring the temperature of the processor core.
To distinguish Morgan processors from the original Spitfire core, Durons based on the Morgan core will be branded under the "AMD Duron processor featuring 3DNow! Professional Technology" name.