Thursday, November 12th 2009

AMD to Sample Bulldozer Architecture in 2010, Sets Product Priorities

As part of its Financial Analyst Day for 2009, AMD listed out its priorities for the year ahead, looking into 2010. While the company has lived up to its development targets for this year by releasing a full-fledged lineup of PC and server processors built on the 45 nm process, increasing its market share with graphics products, and releasing the first DirectX 11 compliant (back then referred to as 'next generation') GPU, the year ahead looks equally ambitious for AMD.

AMD set the following product priorities for 2010: to deliver four new winning PC platforms in the first half of 2010, improve battery life of its notebook platform, expand homegrown DirectCompute 11 and OpenCL developer tools, propagate DirectX 11 graphics to notebooks, launch the company's first 12-core Opteron processor, and more interestingly, sample the company's next-generation "Bulldozer" architecture to industry customers, along with sampling the company's first Fusion-design "Bobcat" processor, which integrates the CPU with GPU, along with sampling some of the company's first processors built on the 32 nm manufacturing process.

The four PC platforms AMD is referring to, are "Leo" and "Dorado", which succeed the current "Dragon" and "Pisces/Kodiak" as the new enthusiast and mainstream platforms, respectively. Leo brings with it the "Thuban" 6-core desktop processor, the company's 8-series platform core-logic, and DirectX 11 compliant discrete graphics, while "Dorado" continues to use Athlon II series processors with up to 4 cores, albeit on AMD's value 8-series core-logic (which continues to integrate DirectX 10.1 compliant IGP). It is in 2011, that processors up to 8 cores, based on the Bulldozer architecture, start to appear. AMD went as far as to disclose that the enthusiast-grade processor carrying the codename "Zambezi" will continue to come in the AM3 package, so now it is clear that the socket has a long road ahead. "Danube" and "Nile" are the other two platforms that AMD will introduce in H1, both are notebook platforms, which bring to the table support for up to 4 cores, DDR3 memory, and DirectX 10.1 compliant integrated, or DirectX 11 compliant discrete graphics, to the table.

Battery life is one of the biggest selling points of a notebook platform. It does not pay to have a powerful processor that is also power-hungry. AMD intends to bring the power footprint of its notebook platforms down by at least 25 percent. Backed with WHQL signed GPGPU drivers, AMD has already shown keen interest in GPGPU standards, particularly open standards such as Microsoft DirectCompute and OpenCL. It will keep this interest alive by continuing to make more developer tools and hardware optimizations in this area.

Propagating DirectX 11 graphics to notebooks is another priority, though it is not likely to come in the form of integrated graphics, going by the roadmap slides. With energy-effecient GPUs already developed across top market segments, it will only be a matter of designing mobile graphics boards. For the enterprise market, AMD will introduce its first 12-core processors codenamed "Magny Cours", and 6000/4000 series platforms. This is when AMD's own server core-logic re-enters the server market under a completely new design team. The core-logic will compete with offerings from NVIDIA and Broadcom.

Finally the one point that caught our interest is the one that AMD highlighted in its slide. AMD's next-generation processor architecture codenamed "Bulldozer", will start sampling in 2010. It should tell us that development of the architecture may have already commenced. Bulldozer is an architecture designed from ground up, and ideally, it does not inherit the design from its eight-year old K8 turned K10(.5) architecture. The other big development is that of the processor codenamed "Bobcat" that integrates graphics processing onto the processor package. It is unlikely to be the first of its kind, as rival Intel has already sampled such processors. It is in this year that AMD will also sample its first 32 nm processors, although no market availability of such processors is indicated.
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55 Comments on AMD to Sample Bulldozer Architecture in 2010, Sets Product Priorities

Super XP
AMD has no choice. Bulldozer has to be successful or they are done. Stock price would tumble if Bulldozer is not revolutionary. Just looking at its core design (AMD still holding off on showing other details about the design) this thing is going to be a multi-threading monster and soon enough AMD will integrate a GPU with the Bulldozer which will make it even faster & efficient.

The key here is Bulldozer needs to be much better than when AMD released Hammer and slapped Intel’s Pentium line of CPU’s.
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i have a feeling the first implementation of Fusion will wipe the floor with the Clarkdale as of FPU performance. AMD is currently testing a new metal for the 2011 and beyond nodes
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Can't wait for 2011, should be a great year for a new PC gaming build. By then we should have Crysis 3, Left 4 Dead 3 and :D
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perhaps better code for such games. I just hope this year is great all around
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2010 looks like a tricky year because both amd and intel don't have much showings. Even Intel seems quiet. It looks like both companies are working hard to ensure proper execution of there new CPU designs coming in q1 2011:) Right now I say lets enjoy gaming the way it was meant to be played:D
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