AMD K8 (also known as AMD Hammer) is the code name of a microprocessor generation of AMD, which has begun K7 microprocessors, the successor of the AMD. The term AMD K8 stands in the tradition of K5, K6 and K7 generations. Main innovation of the K8 generation is the AMD64 micro-architecture and the integration of the memory controller into the processor.

Technical details

The K8 processors achieve most of their improvement in performance over the K7 processors by enlarged or improved caches as well as improvements to the preliminary stages of the computation units (TLB, branch prediction, etc.). In addition, the memory latency have been significantly reduced, because the memory controller has been moved from the Northbridge to the processor itself. The pipelines were extended from 10 to 12 steps. " Pack " and the following " Decode " which is shown in the block diagram is processed by these two additional pipeline stages.

Not all microprocessors of the K8 - generation support AMD64. For the low price range first pure 32-bit CPUs have been developed and marketed under the name Sempron Mobile Sempron and AMD. All CPUs of the K8 generation only support MMX, Extended 3DNow! SSE and the Streaming SIMD Extensions 2; modern steppings in addition, the Streaming SIMD Extensions 3

To "improve the security of a computer " resulted in the AMD K8 - generation technology of NX bits one. You should prevent programs to execute arbitrary data as a program and run in this way malicious code (viruses, backdoors, etc.).

Another important innovation, AMD introduced in addition to the first time used in large-scale energy-saving silicon on insulator process with a Cool'n'Quiet power-saving technology, which was previously found only in notebook CPUs. Both measures led to a greatly reduced power loss at part-load operation of the CPU and are certainly one of the reasons for the popularity of the Athlon 64

Even the microprocessors of the AMD -K7 generation were significantly less power hungry than the Intel competition with NetBurst architecture, and the high power dissipation of these Intel processors led to significant shifts in the market. If AMD K7 - times even criticized due to lower maximum clock rates compared to the Pentium 4 as "cheap supplier ," said AMD could now equal position to Intel with the Athlon 64. AMD succeeded, now also large companies that had previously been loyal to Intel, as customers.


While the product name AMD Athlon remained true to the desktop processors, was established with the Opteron in the server segment, a new brand to store Athlon MP, the poor image of the hapless AMD and be able to start a start in this lucrative segment. The Opteron was able to gain a large market share within a few years.

In parallel, in the low -cost segment of the brand name "Athlon " is replaced by Sempron. Even if the first Semprons still belonged to the K7 - generation, also this move paid off, as the Sempron was significantly better accepted than the Duron.

After AMD could not achieve the desired success in the notebook sector, a special energy-saving device ( K8L ) was put on the market, which is also quite could win some market share under the name Turion 64. However, in this segment remained from the final breakthrough.

Processors of the K8 generation

The following processor families AMD based on the K8 generation:

  • Athlon 64
  • Athlon 64 FX
  • Mobile Athlon 64
  • Mobile Sempron
  • AMD Opteron
  • Sempron
  • Turion 64

Successors and derivatives

The low-power variants are referred to internally as K8L at AMD, the attached " L" stands for low ( power ). However, these do not differ in their micro-architecture of the remaining K8 processors, only the power consumption is lower.

The dual core processors based on the K8 generation are counted, however, the K9 generation.

The successor to the K8 and K9 is the AMD K10.