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The first native x86 quad-core processor is finally taped out

With the news of AMD's DDR2 Opteron launch, AMD managed to squeeze in one tidbit of information definitely newsworthy: quad-core Opterons have been taped out. AMD's Executive Vice President Henri Richard had previously dubbed these native quad-core design as the K8L architecture.  Internally at AMD, this architecture is known as Greyhound.

The company's press release claims "AMD plans to deliver to customers in mid-2007 native Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors that incorporate four processor cores on a single die of silicon." For a little historical perspective, AMD's dual-core Opteron was taped out in June 2004, and then officially introduced in late April, 2005.

The press release further adds that the quad-core Opteron will be compatible with the dual-core DDR2 Opteron motherboards.  The news of backwards compatibility with existing DDR2 Opteron motherboards is in line with AMD's previous announcements on its other platforms.  On roadmaps earlier this year the company also claimed that AM3 processors would be compatible with AM2 motherboards.

Intel has recently accelerated its quad-core plans; the company recently announced that quad-core desktop and server chips will be available this year.  Intel's initial quad-core designs are significantly different than AMD's approach.  The quad-core Intel Kentsfield processor is essentially two Conroe dice attached to the same package.  AMD's native quad-core, on the other hand, incorporates all four cores onto the same die.  AMD countered Intel's accelerated roadmap by claiming the new quad-core processors would be demonstrated this year.

However, absent from AMD's quad-core announcement is any news of non-native quad-core processors.  Non-native quad-core Opterons, previously dubbed Deerhound, existed on AMD's roadmap as late as May of this year.  These 65nm processors were essentially two 65nm dual-core Opterons on the same package, but AMD has made virtually no comment on any 65nm dual or single-core processors since the AMD Analyst Day on June 1 of this year.  AMD still plans to introduce 65nm dual-core processors for desktops this year.

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RE: hmm
By Samus on 8/15/2006 12:57:34 PM , Rating: 2
It is the K8L after all, still 'K8'

AMD is busy on 'K9' if thats what you want to call it. Infact they snatched up a few Intel engineers that were laid off recently to help out with it. We wont see it until 2009 though.

However, don't underestimate K8, it is an excellent scallable architecture. Look how long Intel forced Netburst down our throats, and it was complete crap from the get-go.

RE: hmm
By JonM on 8/15/2006 1:19:06 PM , Rating: 2
Unless I am misstaken, they named it K8L to avoide the term K9.

RE: hmm
By Engine of End on 8/15/2006 5:30:19 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, it appears both K9 and K10 are "dead."

Although, there IS a next-generation architecture on the horizon. Odds are it won't be called K9 or K10.

RE: hmm
By The Cheeba on 8/15/2006 6:23:07 PM , Rating: 2
Considering inquirer was the source for most of that stuff, I'd be surprised if it even existed at all. It's pretty common for the media to just say a company changed its plans rather than admit they got the story wrong in the first place.

Especially at the inq.

RE: hmm
By jarman on 8/16/2006 6:17:02 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, since they were pretty much the first to release news of the pending AMD/ATI merger, when everyone thought they were insane. Wait a mintue...

Keep on drinking that Kool-Aid pal.

RE: hmm
By shadowzz on 8/19/2006 10:34:07 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, since they were pretty much the first to release news of the pending AMD/ATI merger, when everyone thought they were insane. Wait a mintue...

Nope, Forbes was first. Then Inquirer said it would happen. Then they said it wouldn't. Then they said it would.

It's pretty typical over there -- they just have someone publish every possible outcome so that they can't be wrong. And yet surprisingly they still haven't correctly reported that Dell is going with AMD (didn't it happen in like May?)

RE: hmm
By Viditor on 8/16/2006 5:19:10 AM , Rating: 3
Actually, it appears both K9 and K10 are "dead."

Which is a good example of why wikipedia isn't really an authoritative source...the articles can be written by anybody.

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