Dodeca-core: The Megahertz Race is Now Officially the Multi-core Race
April 17, 2008 6:51 PM
AMD engineers reveal details about the company's upcoming 45nm processor roadmap, including plans for 12-core processors
" the reporters cry during the AMD's financial analyst day today. Despite the fact that the company will lay off nearly 5% of its work force this week, followed by another 5% next month, most employees interviewed by
continue to convey an optimistic outlook.
The next major milestone for the CPU engineers comes late this year, with the debut of 45nm
, for all intents and purposes, is nearly identical to
the B3 stepping of Socket 1207 Opteron (
) shipping today
. However, where as
had its HyperTransport 3.0 clock generator fused off,
will once again attempt to get HT3.0 right.
Original roadmaps anticipated that HT3.0 would be used for socket-to-socket communication, but also for communication to the Southbridge controllers. Motherboard manufacturers have confirmed that this is no longer the case, and that HT3.0 will only be used for inter-CPU communication.
"Don't be disappointed, AMD is making up for it," hints one engineer. Further conversations revealed that inter-CPU communication is going to be a big deal with the 45nm refresh. The first breadcrumb comes with a new "native six-core"
derivative, currently codenamed
. This processor is clearly targeted at
Intel's recently announced six-core, 45nm
But sextuple-core processors have been done, or at least we'll see the first ones this year. The real neat stuff comes a few months after, where AMD will finally ditch the "native-core" rhetoric. Two separate reports sent to
from AMD partners indicate that Shanghai and its derivatives will also get twin-die per package treatment.
AMD planned twin-die configurations
as far back as the K8 architecture
, though abandoned those efforts. The company never explained why those processors were nixed, but just weeks later "native quad-core" became a major marketing campaign for AMD in anticipation of
processor could enable 12 cores in a single package. Each of these cores will communicate to each other via the now-enabled HT3.0 interconnect on the processor.
The rabbit hole gets deeper. Since each of these processors will contain a dual-channel memory controller, a single-core can emulate quad-channel memory functions by accessing the other dual-channel memory controller on the same socket. This move is likely a preemptive strike against
tri-channel memory controller
Motherboard manufacturers claim
and its many-core derivatives will be backwards compatible with existing Socket 1207 motherboards. However, processor-to-processor communication will downgrade to lower HyperTransport frequencies on these older motherboards. The newest 1207+ motherboards will officially support the HyperTransport 3.0 frequencies.
is currently taped out and running Windows at AMD.
"I'd be pissed too, but you didn't have to go all Minority Report on his ass!" -- Jon Stewart on police raiding Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home
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