The Underdog: AMD Announces Details on Trio of Upcoming CPU Designs
August 24, 2010 12:00 PM
comment(s) - last by
Bobcat aims for advanced performance at under 1 watt of power consumption per core.
(Source: AMD via Anandtech)
Bulldozer packs a major redesign, with two integer cores sharing an FPU. AMD says the approach optimizes performance per die size.
(Source: AMD via Anandtech)
The Llano packs a K10-derived core (pictured here) paired with on-die DDR3 and a 5000-series GPU.
Can Bulldozer, Bobcat, and Llano allow AMD to dethrone CPU kingpin Intel?
AMD has plenty to cheer about of late. Almost out of the red in its latest
, the company has surged ahead to become the
top seller of discrete GPUs
(as of July). The company also is sitting on a pile of cash -- $1.25B USD -- from a
settlement with Intel
over Intel's alleged attempts to pay cash payouts to OEMs to not use AMD CPUs (and several other alleged anticompetitive actions). With the U.S. Federal Trade Commission promising to
keep a watchful eye on Intel
, the ball is now in AMD's court to deliver a competitive CPU product.
Today at the
conference held at Stanford University, the company discussed some
on its trio of upcoming architectures (Bobcat, Llano, Bulldozer) that AMD hopes will revitalize its CPU unit and offer a turnaround akin to what it pulled off in the GPU sector.
First up is
. Discussed as far back as
, this architecture covers lightweight 1-10 watt TDP processors for mobile computers such as netbooks. In that respect it's AMD's first true challenger to Intel's wildly successful Atom.
AMD has had CPUs
as netbook processors, but they were too power hungry to be true competitors. For example, last year's single core
AMD Athlon 64 L110 CPU
, which debuted in Acer subsidiary Gateway's LT3103u netbook, clocked in at 1.2 GHz and consumed 13 watts of power. Compare that to
Intel's Atom N270
, which launched nearly a
earlier and offered 1.6 GHz speed and a tiny 2.5 W power envelope.
To put things in context AMD is targeting
under 1 watt
per core with
, a dramatic improvement over the L110 and other currently-offered low-power processors from AMD.
While both Atom and
are similar in number of pipe stages for the CPU (16 stages for the former, 15 for the latter), the
is an out-of-order CPU which should give it a performance edge over Intel's otherwise similar design. The design features 64 KB of L1 cache, and 512 KB of L2 cache.
notably will likely never be sold as a stand-alone CPU (or at least AMD has announced no plans to do so). It will first pop up early next year as an AMD's first Fusion CPU dubbed
will feature 2
cores paired with an AMD GPU. The combined system-on-a-chip (SoC) will be produced at the 40 nm node at TSMC's chip fabs.
AMD even has a catchy name for the package -- it's not a
, it's an
(Accelerated Processor Unit).
, the new CPUs target the performance desktop and notebook sector and offer a
, shifting the architecture in an interesting direction.
is a more modular design. AMD is opting for a bit different design on the modular level, though. It's opting for a two-integer core design capable of servicing two threads, with a common floating point unit (FPU) between the cores. While obvious lacking the performance of 2 full cores with a FPU each, the dual-core module design is only 12-percent larger than a single core design at the node size. And AMD promises the performance boost on average will be significantly more than 12-percent, so this seems a smart tradeoff.
Other changes include a deeper pipeline and more aggressive prefetching. Idle cores can be fully turned off for power savings.
CPUs will primarily retail in the desktop sector in 1 to 4 module packages (for a total of 2 to 8 threads/integer cores) on the
. A 16-core
and a C32 socket 8-core model dubbed
will launch for servers. The CPUs will be produced on a 32 nm process, by Global Foundries. Intel was the first to hit this node with its
, which launched in January of this year.
Each integer core has a tiny 16 KB cache. That's disappointingly, low, but AMD says the performance impact will be masked by plentiful L2 cache.
should arrive first in Q2/Q3 2011 in server packages (though no precise 2011 date has been specified yet) and later in the year for desktop packages. This places it roughly two to three quarters behind Intel's first redesigned 32 nm architecture, Sandy Bridge which is slated for a
Q4 2010 launch
. Believe it or not, that means AMD is catching up -- if it can meet its schedule that is.
Last but not least is
. Unlike the redesigned
is a system on a chip featuring a refined K10-based core design -- basically a
tweaked Phenom II
. AMD's slides have shown that it will use a new socket called "AM3r2". The package will pack four of those K10-based cores, a 5000-series-derived GPU, and DD3 memory.
's release date was
from Q4 2010 to Jan. 2011, based on yield issues (and "
reaction to Ontario’s market opportunities
", according to AMD PR-speak).
If AMD can push ahead and keep its launch dates on target it looks to be quite competitive with Intel CPU-wise on a number of fronts in 2011 -- netbooks/tablets (
), mid-range laptops (
), and high-end notebooks/desktops (
). Of course the most telling details will be the actual benchmarks of the chips versus Intel's competitive designs. AMD currently has these CPUs in its lab and is doing internal testing -- but don't expect third-party benchmarks until close to launch-time.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: No talk of speed
8/25/2010 9:12:28 AM
unaware. im a hardware specialists :). dont come in here bashing the phenom 2 for the i7. i was just stating the phenom 2 is capable of 4.0 ghz to let the guy that said "no talk of speed" know what the older cpus are capable of therefor the bulldozer must be capable of that. i7 is faster clock for clock but not that much faster and definitly is not abetter VALUE to performance. get over your intel fanboism.
RE: No talk of speed
8/25/2010 3:14:01 PM
First and foremost, I am not an Intel fanboy by any means. In fact I highly favor AMDs offerings, but even I am not biased enough to realize that the i7 lineup is superior to the Phenom IIs, Intel won this round.
Secondly, yes I may have gone a little overboard on the frequency. A 4GHz PII, maybe not, but if you take a look at
you can easily see that an i7 920 @ 2.66GHz outperforms the PII in almost every benchmark, where the PII is at 3.4GHz. And yes, I am comparing the original low-end i7 quad core with the highest end quad core PII. I hope we don't need to bring in the 980X or compare a 4GHz PII with a 4GHz i7, because that will be pretty sad. Undeniable, my friend. And again yes, I love AMD, they just have the inferior product this time around. I'm really hoping they do well with bulldozer, it sounds promising.
Oh and your above comment about triple channel memory... where did you get the idea that it had such a large impact? In fact, it has almost no performance improvement at all:
The difference is fairly minimal.
As for value, i got an i7-930 for $200, is that not a good value? Yeah generally AMD has better value, but that doesn't mean always.
I suggest you do the research you suggested I do before you make it sound as though my claims have no merit whatsoever, when in fact they are quite accurate.
RE: No talk of speed
8/26/2010 1:55:27 AM
All that being said If you take two towers with similiar specs (one with a PII and the other with a I7) and compare (without benchmarks) your not going to find alot of difference overall. it's there... and in some instances noticable but for the most part? Not so much.
"Google fired a shot heard 'round the world, and now a second American company has answered the call to defend the rights of the Chinese people." -- Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-N.J.)
FTC, Intel Reach Settlement; Intel Banned From Anticompetitive Practices
August 4, 2010, 1:45 PM
"The Eyes Have It": Fly Corneas Used in Solar Cell Research
July 30, 2010, 1:59 PM
AMD Almost Out of the Money Hole, Beats Estimates by $110M USD
July 16, 2010, 8:45 AM
President Obama to Speak About Future Plans for NASA in Florida
April 14, 2010, 11:00 AM
Intel, AMD Settle Antitrust Disputes, Intel to Pay AMD $1.25 Billion
November 12, 2009, 9:34 AM
Apple Offers Refurbished 5K Retina iMacs for $2,119 Online
January 16, 2015, 12:37 PM
SanDisk Unveils Pricey iXpand USB 2.0/Lightning Drive to Expand iPhone, iPad Storage
November 13, 2014, 2:29 PM
HP's 15.6" Omen Gaming Laptop is Incredibly Thin, Powerful
November 4, 2014, 10:34 AM
Tim Cook Touts Apple’s Product Portfolio, Performance in Letter to Employees
October 21, 2014, 8:05 AM
Lenovo Once Again The Top Global PC Maker, Apple Takes 50% of PC Profits
October 9, 2014, 7:46 AM
It’s Official: HP to Split Into Two Business Units
October 6, 2014, 8:14 AM
Most Popular Articles
Google Fixes Homophobic "Bug" in its Translator
January 27, 2015, 2:31 PM
Ancient Aliens? 11.2 Billion Year Old Solar System Discovered
January 29, 2015, 12:09 PM
Under the Hood: How DirectX 11.3 and 12 Will Supercharge Windows 10 Gaming
January 23, 2015, 12:34 PM
Dual-Motor Tesla Model S P85D's "Insane Mode" Shocks Passengers
January 28, 2015, 11:18 PM
2016 Cadillac CTS-V Packs 640 hp Punch with 200 mph Reach
January 23, 2015, 3:25 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information