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Even before AMD's 65nm K10 architecture hits store shelves, the company is talking about the 45nm shrink

This summer, AMD will announce its first major architectural change since the introduction of the K8 architecture in 2003.  This new architecture, dubbed K10, will first make an appearance in the server space, with the introduction of the Barcelona-family processors.

K10 features a native quad-core design that incorporates shared-L3 cache, HyperTransport-3 support and backwards functionality with AM2 motherboards.  However, the original K10 desktop and server processors will debut on the 65nm architecture -- a process AMD only started mastering in December 2006 with the launch of the Brisbane desktop CPU family.

In the second half of 2008, AMD will begin to migrate its K10 architecture to the 45nm node.  AMD explicitly mentions that its 45nm process technology utilizes silicon-on-insulator (SOI).  Intel's 45nm process node, slated for introduction later this year, uses conventional CMOS process technology. 

The halo AMD 45nm chip, Deneb FX, shares the same functionality as its 65nm counterpart, Agena.  Both families incorporate native quad-core designs and shared-L3 cache support.  Deneb FX goes one step further, adding support for DDR3 on the integrated memory controller.

However, the bulk of AMD's 45nm quad-core offerings will come with the Deneb (non-FX) family.  AMD suggests Deneb will be the first processor on the new AM3 socket.  Previous AMD documentation indicated that AM2 and AM3 would be forward/backward compatible -- yet AMD engineers claim the AM3 alluded to in 2006 is not the same AM3 referenced in the 2008 launch schedule. 

"At the time AM3 was the likely candidate to become AM2+," claimed one field application engineer familiar with AMD's socket migration. "[AMD] wanted to keep the socket name associated with DDR2 memory and backwards compatibility, but AM3 emphasizes DDR3 support."

After Deneb, and closer to 2009, AMD's guidance states that 45nm Propus and Regor will replace the 65nm Kuma and Rana mid-range productsPropus is very similar to Deneb: 45nm, shared L3 cache, AM3 package.  However, Propus will only feature two cores.  Regor is identical to Propus, but will not include shared-L3 cache support.

AMD's low-end single core Athlon 64 and Sempron appear consolidated with the introduction of the Sargas family.  Sargas is an optical shrink of the 65nm Spica core, with the addition of DDR3 support and AM3 packaging.  AMD's ultra-low end Sparta-family, slated for introduction this year to replace the Manila-family Semprons, has no successor.

AMD product managers are keeping details of their 45nm technology close.  However, this past January AMD and IBM jointly announced plans for high-k, metal gate transistors on future 45nm and 32nm processors. 

This past February, AMD senior vice president of technology development Douglas Grose claimed the company is still anticipating whether or not it will use high-k metal gate technology in later 45nm revisions or if the company will wait until 32nm.

Intel also announced its intention to debut high-k, metal gate technology on its 45nm node, but the company went one step further to confirm this new transistor technique will appear on the Penryn processor.  Intel guidance suggests Penryn will see its first retail availability late this year -- at least a year before Deneb.

Marty Seyer, AMD senior vice president, recently disclosed AMD's 45nm server offering slated for release in 2008.  Seyer stated that Shanghai, the 45nm successor to Barcelona, would feature additional cache and other performance enhancements. 

Seyer or Grose would not comment on what these performance enhancements, though features from AMD's server products typically appear on the desktop components as well.



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By MartinT on 5/2/2007 9:23:42 AM , Rating: 1
I believe that the chances of AMD having 45nm products available in 2008 are slim to nonexistant. Heck, AMD hasn't even gotten its 65nm process to the place where they can produce their high-end SKUs on it.

45nm has already slipped considerably, from early 2008, as was initially claimed, now to H2/2008, and will continue to slip for the next 18+ months. And no surprise there - how are they going to hit their goals when they have to reduce CapEx and are completely reliant on IBM to do the dirty work?

But hey, maybe they'll pull another phantom launch - like they did with 65nm processors in Dec 2006.




By coldpower27 on 5/2/2007 10:19:46 PM , Rating: 2
I have always heard Mid 2008, just like I have heard Mid 2007 for Desktop and Server for K8L/K10 back in May 2006 last year.

There's been a minor slip for desktop but Q3 depending on when it is, could still be the middle of the year.

Q3 2008 would be on the tail end of Mid 2008, but that is expected when companies give vague information of "Mid Year"

Though that would still mean AMD is still at the minimum 3 Quarters behind Intel. Q4 2007 is the time for Penryn derivatives on the 45nm node.


By nerdye on 5/3/2007 11:37:53 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, penryn is coming, with the 1333mhz fsb, yet I'm running over that right now at 1400mhz fsb on my e6300 on a ds3 board (1400/4 = 350|350*7 = 2450)? but of course, penryn will be a beast of an OC'er. If hope comes through, AMD's newly updated integrated memory controller on the k10 and great branch prediction and efficiency will compete, man I hope so, cause AMD hasn't stated very high high hz ratings of their new chips. A 2.3 ghz native quadcore k10 may be 30% more efficient than conroe, but penryn cranking the clocks well above 3.0ghz with a much faster fsb than before is quite an opponent. Only time will tell. One thing's for sure though, AMD cpu's and AMD-ATI gpu's competing well is only a benefit for us consumers.


By fake01 on 5/6/2007 6:55:21 AM , Rating: 1
umm I'm pretty sure i read that Penryn will be up to 40% faster than Intels current fastest processor. Barcelona (K10) or whatever will be "over" 50% faster, making it "over" 10% faster than Penryn. Not to mention the agena (new name for AMD processors) releases later this year, at 1.9GHz was overclocked to 3.05GHz without any issues. So i think AMD might take back the lead for a while.


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