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AMD talks Bulldozer  (Source: AMD)

AMD details "Falcon," a mainstream processor for "Copperhead"  (Source: AMD)
AMD talks details of "Bulldozer," the first completely new architecture since K8

AMD plans to launch its third-generation Opteron platform in 2009 with the Sandtiger octal-core processor. Beneath Sandtiger is AMD’s M-SPACE modular approach towards CPUs. M-SPACE allows AMD to mix and match CPU features for specific tasks.

The definition for M-SPACE is as follows:
  • Modular: Reconfigurable “building blocks” for design speed/agility
  • Scalable: Linear scaling of multi and single-thread performance
  • Portable: Energy-efficiency for increased mobility/portability
  • Accessible: Ongoing commitment to open innovation
  • Compatible: Backward compatibility and ease of upgrade
  • Efficient: Optimal on-chip and system level I/O efficiency
Sandtiger’s eight cores consist of eight AMD Bulldozers. Bulldozer is the name AMD has given to one of the CPU cores for its M-SPACE architecture. AMD claims dramatic performance-per-watt improvements in HPC applications with Bulldozer cores. Unlike Barcelona and Shanghai, which have evolved from AMD’s K8 architecture, Bulldozer is a completely new design developed from the ground up.

AMD installs eight Bulldozer CPU cores in Sandtiger with a memory control. AMD optimizes the design for servers and raises the performance-per-watt bar for single and multithreaded applications.

The modular M-SPACE technology also finds its way into Fusion. AMD plans to mix and match M-SPACE components for Falcon, a Fusion processor optimized for mobile and mainstream desktops. Falcon forms the basis of AMD’s planned Copperhead mainstream desktop platform. Falcon features four Bulldozer CPU cores with an integrated graphics processor. The integrated graphics processor features DirectX 10, possibly 11, support with AMD’s Universal Video Decoder, or UVD, technology. Falcon also features integrated PCIe.

In addition to Bulldozer, AMD has the Bobcat CPU core for Fusion processors designed for mobile, ultra-mobile and consumer electronics applications. Bobcat is also a completely new design and has greater power scaling capabilities. Bobcat-based processor designs can consume as low as one watt of power. AMD has not announced any details of Bobcat-powered Fusion processors yet.

Expect AMD to introduce Fusion designs based on Bulldozer and Bobcat beginning in 2009.


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Things are starting to make sense
By Justin Case on 7/26/2007 7:01:01 PM , Rating: 3
If AMD is serious about the modular approach (they've been hinting at it for a long time, and they have a couple of intriguing patents, including one that looks like a way to turn multiple cores into a single superscalar CPU), that might explain some of their recent moves.

A "variable configuration" CPU would definitely need some form of code morphing to work transparently (ex., software tries to run instruction "X", and the CPU decides, based on its modules, whether to run it on a dedicated module or morph it into multiple instructions for the "generic" module). Doing this efficiently is a lot more complex than simple micro-op decoding. Transmeta has a ton of patents in this area, and AMD's acquisition of a (small but relevant) share might mean free (or at least cheap) access to those patents.

As to the on-die PCIe, we've been waiting for it since AMD licensed the patents from RAMBUS. I was kind of hoping that some of those new pins on Socket-F were precisely for that.

There's an increasing feeling that Barcelona is just a K8 "expansion pack" to keep the fans quiet (and pay the bills), and the real "sequel" keeps getting pushed back as they decide to add new features.




RE: Things are starting to make sense
By EarthsDM on 7/26/2007 8:54:48 PM , Rating: 2
AMD claimed that the K8 architecture was modular, IIRC.


By Justin Case on 7/26/2007 8:57:52 PM , Rating: 2
Never heard that, all talk of modular CPUs was well after the K8 had been released. Any links?


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