Page 1 of 2
The Athlon 64 was the first 64-bit processor to be used in consumer PCs. Introduced by AMD in 2003, it also marked the first time Intel was not the first CPU manufacturer to introduce a major improvement in x86 processors. It was in fact the first major improvement since the introduction of the 386, which introduced 32-bit processing back in 1986.
Here is the processor sitting in its socket on a motherboard. This particular example is an Athlon 64 3200+ based on the "Newcastle" design. It was made in a 130 nm Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) process, and was designed to run at 2.2 GHz.
A side view of the processor all alone. The chip itself is sandwiched between a small circuit board with 754 pins on the bottom, and a huge lump of metal on the top to dissipate all the heat produced inside. The Athlon 64 pumps out no less than 90 Watts of heat at full load!
This is the actual chip itself. It's easily the largest chip in my collection, measuring 11 x 12.5 mm. Although the transistors are only 190 nm long, there are about 150 million of them squeezed together here!
At low magnification we can see that the surface looks quite different from the other chips you'll find here. That's because the Athlon 64 uses flip-chip technology: the chip is not connected to the outside world by wires, but by little balls of solder, pretty much like a BGA chip package. Eliminating the wires makes it possible to run more signal lines to and from the processor, and also enables the lines to carry higher frequency signals. All these shiny little circles are solder balls that made contact to the little green circuit board.
The bottom-left corner. It's easy to see that the chip is divided into several different blocks, neatly separated by jigsaw-shaped lines. Unfortunately it's not really possible to tell what's inside each block, because all the metal layers (necessary for connecting all the solder balls) obstruct the view of the circuits below.
Zooming in a bit more shows a lot of fine-grained strucure in the top layers. There's also some text in the corner, plus the AMD logo.
Going even deeper, we find the copyright date (2003), an identification code (8420C), and designators for all the top layers (the vertical string of numbers on the left).