A chip with that many transistors is currently considered unusual. But when Hammer chips emerge in the first half of 2003, processors of that complexity will become increasingly common. That's because designers are increasing the size of caches, which are reservoirs of memory located on the processor for rapid data access, and adding other features.
Details of AMD's forthcoming chip have been leaking out. The largest version of Hammer, for instance, will have 1MB of secondary cache, as well as an integrated memory controller for connecting the processor to a PC's memory, according to the company. Currently, memory controllers mostly sit on their own piece of silicon."
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