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AMD's long-term mobile computing roadmap. (Source: AMD)
AMD prepares to take on Centrino with more power saving features

AMD is preparing to take on Intel’s Centrino, current Santa Rosa and upcoming Montevina, platforms with the next-generation Puma mobile platform. At the heart of Puma is AMD’s next-generation Griffin-core 65nm mobile processor, ready to take on Intel’s Core 2 Duo with a power saving vengeance. Griffin is a dual-core mobile processor geared towards enhanced performance without sacrificing battery life.

AMD’s Griffin features extensive power saving characteristics, more so than its upcoming Barcelona-family, such as an improved split power plane. The split power plane supported by Griffin allows the memory controller and each processor core to operate with independent voltages. Griffin’s DDR2 memory controller also features an improved DRAM pre-fetcher and enhancements in efficiency. With the split power planes, the memory controller’s power plane operates at a lower voltage than the two CPU cores.

AMD's Technical Director Sales and Marketing, Giuseppe Amato, hinted that independent core voltage would be an upcoming announcement on Griffin earlier this year.

The upcoming AMD Barcelona features split power planes for the processor cores and memory controller. Griffin one-ups Barcelona by allowing each processor core to have its own voltage plane, allowing each core to operate with different frequencies and voltages. The system can theoretically disable one core to conserve power with split voltage planes, for minimal idle power consumption.

Griffin also supports HyperTransport 3.0 with enhanced power management features. HyperTransport 3.0 allows Griffin to scale the link widths on demand to reduce power consumption. Griffin can also disconnect HyperTransport when it is not needed, even when the processor cores are executing instructions.

AMD’s upcoming 780G will join Griffin to form the Puma platform. Again, Amato detailed much of this platform earlier this year as an AMD780-based solution.

The AMD 780G delivers DirectX 10 graphics with the Universal Video Decoder, or UVD, for hardware accelerated Blu-ray and HD DVD high-definition video playback. Multiple display output capabilities are supported with the AMD 780G including DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort. The chipset also supports HyperTransport 3.0 and PCI Express 2.0.

New to the AMD 780G is AMD’s PowerXPress technology that allows the system to switch between integrated and external PCIe 2.0 graphics dynamically without restarting Windows. The technology promises “the best of both worlds” by enabling the integrated graphics core when the notebook is running on battery power and automatically switching to the higher performing external graphics while plugged in.

Other notable features of the AMD 780G include support for HyperFlash via upcoming SB700 south bridge. HyperFlash is similar to Intel’s Turbo Memory technology and allows notebook manufacturers to attach flash memory to the south bridge for enhanced performance.

Expect Puma to succeed Trevally in 2008.


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The facts-short & precise
By crystal clear on 5/18/2007 10:51:48 AM , Rating: 0
The Fundamentals

Mobile microprocessor, code-named Griffin, along with its "Puma" platform

1)Griffin is not an entirely new processor. The design is based on the K8 core, which is used, for example, for current Opteron and Athlon X2 CPUs (with 2 x 1 MB L2 cache). AMD has applied a system-on-a-chip methodology to develop the Griffin architecture and has designed a new, more power-efficient integrated Northbridge from scratch. The encapsulated 65 nm core will receive Barcelona’s HyperTransport 3 physical interconnect.

2)Griffin will also share with Barcelona a new optimized DDR2 interface as well as a DRAM prefetcher, but the mobile processor’s memory controller will have an even greater focus on low power consumption. First, the CPU can limit the power consumption of the memory interface by limiting setting the bandwidth to x16, x4, x2 or shut-down states. Second, multiple on-die thermal processors enable Griffin to throttle memory speed. The memory controller monitors the temperature of the DDR2-800 devices and can enforce temperature limits through a memhot signal.

3)The processor continues to use the S-socket of Turion, but will use a different pinout.

4)The chipset that goes along with Griffin, RS780/780G, will play a major role in this strategy. It will be AMD’s first chipset that can be directly aligned and fine-tuned for its processors and promises to bring some enhancements. The 780 series will support DirectX 10, playback of high-definition media (Blu-ray, HD DVD), HyperTransport 3 and PCI Express 2.

5)“PowerXPress”, which combines two graphics engines under one hood - discrete and integrated graphics: When the computer is connected to a power outlet, the notebook processes graphics through a discrete graphics card. When system is unplugged and the battery becomes the power source, the notebook disables the connection to the graphics card and dynamically activates the integrated graphics chipset, which does not offer as much performance as the graphics card, but consumes substantially less power.

6)AMD will not offer its own wireless chipset. The company will continue to rely third party vendors such as Broadcom to complement its mobile platform. Wimax is unlikely to become a feature of Puma (from the start).

5) Puma (which is scheduled to ramp in late 2007) will enable notebooks to exceed more than 5 hours of running time on one battery charge. Griffin itself will remain in the same power envelope as today’s Turion X2 processors (35 watts).

6)Hyperflash with Puma- it essentially is AMD’s version of Intel’s “Turbo Memory”: AMD will also build NAND flash into mainboards to accelerate startup processes of software.

Conclusions

1)Whether a K8-based mobile processor was a good idea to compete with Intel. Should AMD have used the Barcelona “Stars” core (which, by the way, never was code-named K10, as some rumors on the Internet indicate) instead?

2)Griffin looks very much like a Turion X2 upgrade that needs to bridge the gap between 2008 and the time when Fusion arrives (2009/2010).

3)Griffin won’t deliver earth shattering performance and that it will not have the capability to challenge Intel’s Core 2 Duo in every notebook market segment.

To round it off-One big dissappointment

Source-Various




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