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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: To quote Ron Burgundy
By Comdrpopnfresh on 8/23/2006 9:35:04 PM , Rating: 2
I see great things for this chip. Perhaps something like RHT (even though it is supposedly a myth...). With it coming out at the time of vista on the market, four cores, and HT-interconnects between the cores and the chip to the system... With the native x64 support, and an x64 OS to support it I think this chip's biggest asset, especially because of it being an Operton (maybe with any athlon-like quads too), is that it will be able to handle up to terabytes of memory. Maybe we won't start there, but imagine 16 gigs of say, DDR3, or XDR? Imagine the possibilites! Unless you had to save a document, everything would be contained on the ram, and within the L-cache. This type of technology cannot be met by Intel; because, in order to have communications between the cores and the ram too, the FSB wuld be split way too thinly, but with an onboard memory contorller like AMD has, they can go right ot native. Conroe as it is (w/o a mem controller) will perform horribly if put in a native-quad, and even the dual-dual they are coming out with. There simply isn't enough bandwidth to share between cores and the memory.... This is also the reason why any quad-core laptop chips will have lowest power crown go to amd- more buses, less speed per bus- after all, isn't that the selling point on why dual-core is superior to single?

I wanna see when there will no longer be an L2, and the CPU can simply use a partition of the ram just as quickly- talk about performance and power-saving there! (not to mention heat reduction!)

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