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AMD is poised to square its next-generation tech against Intel's "Santa Rosa"

AMD is set to launch its upcoming K10 architecture with the Barcelona quad-core server processor.  However, since the ATI acquisition last year, AMD has also focused extensively on its mobile roadmap. 

This May, Intel's Centrino platform will enter its fourth revision with Santa Rosa.  Late last year AMD launched the Kite platform -- 90nm dual-core Turion processors, DDR2-667 and 802.11g wireless.  Kite will undergo a refresh at about the same time as the Intel Santa Rosa platform launch.

The spearhead of this new initiative is the Hawk-family of mobile CPUs.  The first of these new Turion CPUs, dubbed Tyler, is a 65nm SOI DDR2-800 processor that utilizes Socket S1.  Essentially, this processor is Brisbane for the notebook, and does not incorporate any of the new features of the K10/Greyhound architecture.

Following Tyler, a low cost 65nm SOI revision dubbed Sherman will replace the 90nm Mobile Sempron cores.

Although AMD states its upcoming mobile platform is a collaboration between AMD and ATI, ATI's contribution has been in the works for almost two years -- well before the AMD merger.  Earlier this year, AMD leaked details of its Trevally mobile reference design detailing the exact component breakout for next generation Turion notebooks.

At the heart of the 2007 Kite refresh is the RS690T chipset -- a low-power version of the RS690 chipset found on the desktop.  Graphics are provided by a Radeon X700 derivative core; system IO functionality revolves around the SB700 southbridge. 

Trevally's design kit also outlines the use of hybrid hard drives and 802.11n-draft wireless.

AMD guidance specifically details the transition from its 90nm to 65nm, in addition to the advances of the RS690 chipset, will boost Turion notebook battery life from 4 hours to in excess of 5 hours.

In 2008 AMD will reveal its Griffin-family of CPUs.  AMD guidance claims these CPUs are built from the ground up to utilize mobile technology, though the processors have been on AMD's roadmap for more than a year as Greyhound derivatives.  The first of these, Lion, will replace Tyler in the first half of 2008.  The low-cost Sable will replace Sherman on the Sempron platform.

All of the Griffin processors will utilize HyperTransport 3 and 65nm SOI.  A cornerstone of the K10 (previously dubbed K8L) architecture is split power planes -- the CPU can dynamically adjust p-states on individual cores or the integrated northbridge.  Currently no commercial processors can do this sort of power management, which has potential to save big on power consumption.

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RE: K10?
By stmok on 3/18/2007 11:07:10 AM , Rating: 2
Firstly Ard , I suggest you watch the AMD presentation at Standford (video) for Computer Science Dept on the K8. K8 is really a souped up K7 with 64bit extensions. The goal is to provide a "transitional CPU" to 64bit. (Gently guide the users and software developers to 64bit, but still have good 32bit performance for backward compatibility reasons).

They did it because they saw how Itanium (a full blown 64bit platform), failed to attain consumer adoption.

Its no different from K8 to K10. (Improving existing design again: more cache, better IPC, improved AMD-V implementation, power saving features, etc).

The method is to continually improve on a proven/existing design. If there is nothing wrong with the existing solution at the fundamental level, why the heck would you radically change it?

The biggest change for AMD is when they moved from K6 to Athlon (K7). Since then, everything else has been largely evolutionary. K7 -> K8 -> K10

Think about it. How is that different from the Pentium Pro, PII, PIII, Pentium-M, Core Solo/Duo and Core 2 Duo/Quad? They're all fundamentally based on the P6. (Pentium Pro). The P6 is a good design that has evolved. Intel tried to replace it with Pentium 4, but they ended up coming back to the P6 solution with the Core series.

BTW, its K10 because AMD said so! :) See video interview.

K8 and then K10. There is no K9. (Woof!)

K8L is the mobile version of the K8 (ie: Turion).

RE: K10?
By Ard on 3/18/2007 2:44:06 PM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure I've watched that presentation awhile back. In any event, I've already conceded that the K8 was largely an evolutionary advancement over the K7, with some revolutionary improvements (on-die memory controller, 64-bit extensions, etc.). However, K10 is purely evolutionary. While Core 2 certainly owes it's existence to the original P6 and it's later progeny, even Ars admits that it is a vastly different beast. The only reason this bothers me is that K10 suggests something "new" and it arguably isn't at this point.

RE: K10?
By nerdye on 3/18/2007 4:22:22 PM , Rating: 2
stmok, I appreciate your post, and praise you for your information and understanding of generations of cpu designs! Many people would include the P4 architecture "netburst" in the current tech within the development of core 2 duo, there's no doubt intel learned from it, yet core 2 is a different beast that lies in other footsteps of their cpu's evolutionary steps.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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