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AMD Orochi ''Bulldozer'' Die Holds 16 MB Cache

Documents related to the "Orochi" 8-core processor by AMD based on its next-generation Bulldozer architecture reveal its cache hierarchy that comes as a bit of a surprise. Earlier this month, at a GlobalFoundries hosted conference, AMD displayed the first die-shot of the Orochi die, which legibly showed key features including the four Bulldozer modules which hold two cores each, and large L2 caches. In coarse visual inspection, the L2 cache of each module seems to cover 35% of its area. L3 cache is located along the center of the die. The documents seen by X-bit Labs reveal that each Bulldozer module has its own 2 MB L2 cache shared between two cores, and an L3 cache shared between all four modules (8 cores) of 8 MB.

This takes the total cache count of Orochi all the way up to 16 MB. This hierarchy suggests that AMD wants to give individual cores access to a large amount of faster cache (that's a whopping 2048 KB compared to 512 KB per core on Phenom, and 256 KB per core on Core i7), which facilitates faster inter-core, intra-module communication. Inter-module communication is enhanced by the 8 MB L3 cache. Compared to the current "Istanbul" six-core K10-based die, that's a 77% increase in cache amount for a 33% core count increase, 300% increase in L2 cache per core. Orochi is built on a 32 nm GlobalFoundries process, it is sure to have a very high transistor count.Source: Xbit Labs

AMD Details Bulldozer Processor Architecture

AMD is finally going to embrace a truly next generation x86 processor architecture that is built from ground up. AMD's current architecture, the K10(.5) "Stars" is an evolution of the more market-successful K8 architecture, but it didn't face the kind of market success as it was overshadowed by competing Intel architectures. AMD codenamed its latest design "Bulldozer", and it features an x86 core design that is radically different from anything we've seen from either processor giants. With this design, AMD thinks it can outdo both HyperThreading and Multi-Core approaches to parallelism, in one shot, as well as "bulldoze" through serial workloads with a broad 8 integer pipeline per core, (compared to 3 on K10, and 4 on Westmere). Two almost-individual blocks of integer processing units share a common floating point unit with two 128-bit FMACs.

AMD is also working on a multi-threading technology of its own to rival Intel's HyperThreading, that exploits Bulldozer's branched integer processing backed by shared floating point design, which AMD believes to be so efficient, that each SMT worker thread can be deemed a core in its own merit, and further be backed by competing threads per "core". AMD is working on another micro-architecture codenamed "Bobcat", which is a downscale implementation of Bulldozer, with which it will take on low-power and high performance per Watt segments that extend from all-in-One PCs all the way down to hand-held devices and 8-inch tablets. We will explore the Bulldozer architecture in some detail.

AMD Phenom II X6 Series Clock Speeds Revealed

AMD's much talked about six-core processors, the Phenom II X6 series, consists of three models for what we know in good detail: model numbers 1075T, 1055T, and 1035T at the bottom. But what remained a mystery were their clock speeds. A leak by one of the motherboard manufacturers who recently released supportive BIOS updates reveals the clock speed for the entry-level Phenom II X6 1035T to be 2.60 GHz, that of the 1055T to be 2.80 GHz, and of the high-end 1075T to be 3.00 GHz. As revealed earlier, the 1035T has a TDP of 95W, while the 1055T has both 125W and 95W variants in the making, and the 1075T has a TDP of 125W.

With so many motherboard vendors specifically designing their upcoming products to be ready for "140W TDP", it isn't hard to guess that there could be a higher-end part in the making, which is probably clocked even higher, and comes with the Black Edition branding. All Phenom II X6 processors are based on the "Thuban" core, a port of the Istanbul six-core architecture to the AM3 package. There are six cores with dedicated 512 KB of L2 caches and a shared 6 MB L3 cache (total cache being 9 MB). The new chip will be announced in the weeks to come.Source: TechConnect Magazine

AMD Phenom II X6 'Thuban' and Phenom II X4 'Zosma' Tabled on Roadmaps

A list of new Phenom II series processors were tabled in a company road map. The road map confirms AMD's naming scheme for the Phenom II X6 brand, and also sheds light on a new line of quad-core processors. In the second quarter of this year, AMD will introduce Phenom II X6 six-core models 1075T, 1055T, and 1035T. While the 1075T has a TDP of 125W, the 1055T comes in 125W and 95W variants (likely one following the other), and 1035T is the slowest model with 95W TDP. All Phenom II X6 models are based on the Thuban core (a desktop, socket AM3 implementation of the Istanbul die). Each of the six cores has 128 KB of L1, 512 KB L2 caches, and a 6 MB L3 cache is shared between all cores. The HyperTransport 3.0 interconnect operates at 4.8 GT/s.

The new line of quad-core processors here, is the Phenom II X4 900T series. The first member in this series is the Phenom II X4 960T. These processors are created using Thuban dies by disabling two cores. It helps AMD salvage its foundry produce with minor defects, and also target lower price points. The resulting die is codenamed "Zosma". Zosma in X4 960T has a TDP of 95W. Probably it has a lower clock speed than the "Deneb" Phenom II X4 965, but is placed in the same league, in terms of performance. One of its biggest "unintentional" unique selling points is that since it's based on a die that has six physical cores, some customers could get lucky by unlocking them to a six-core processor, at a much lower price-point. Even as several motherboard manufacturers have innovated ways to unlock disabled cores, and are advertising their unlocking features, it is not guaranteed that a Zosma would unlock into Thuban, just as Callisto/Heka to Deneb unlocking doesn't always work out. Going by AMD's road map, these processors will be released some time in May.


Phenom II X6 to Get C-State Performance Boost Feature

AMD's upcoming six-core desktop processor, the Phenom II X6, will introduce a new feature to the Phenom II series, currently known as "C-state performance boost". The feature gives the processor control over individual cores' power states, and the ability to gate power down completely a core. The remaining active core(s), will then be overclocked beyond the normal clock speeds, so that low-power operation with reduced parallel computing load goes on with much lesser energy consumption.

Features such as C-state performance boost and 'power-gating' is relatively new for AMD processors. The two were originally expected to be introduced with AMD's 32 nm "Llano" Fusion APUs. AMD's Phenom II X6 is expected to be released in May 2010, its architecture is derived from the six-core "Istanbul" Opteron processors, albeit in the socket AM3 package that supports dual-channel DDR3 memory. There are as many as four models in the works for an initial release. Known details of these can be found here.

Source: X-bit Labs

AMD Preparing ''Thuban'' Desktop Six-Core Processor

AMD is planning to create a desktop implementation of its Opteron "Istanbul" monolithic six-core processor. Codenamed "Thuban" (named after a star in the Draco constellation, which means Dragon), the new processor will be based on the socket AM3 package for compatibility with existing and future desktop core logic. It features six cores, 9 MB of total cache (6 x 512 KB L2 + 6 MB L3). Thuban is aimed to make for AMD's high-end desktop processor, as the company prepares to face competition from a near-complete lineup of processors based on the Nehalem/Westmere architectures from Intel. It is expected to be the posterboy for AMD's "Leo" high-end consumer desktop platform that succeeds its current Dragon platform.

Some of the key components that make up AMD Leo platform are the upcoming AMD 890FX and 890GX chipset, companion SB800 series southbridge chips, and members of AMD's Evergreen family of DirectX 11 compliant graphics processors. On the software front, AMD will give its Fusion and Overdrive utilities some big updates. The SB800 series southbridge chips will feature native support for SATA 6 Gb/s and USB 3.0; connectivity is further enhanced by integrated Broadcom MAC Ethernet interfaces. While the Leo platform is expected to launch almost simultaneously with the 8-series chipsets, the six-core Thuban processor on the other hand comes later. It is due only in Q3 2010. Thuban will have come out an year after its enterprise implementation in the form of Opteron "Istanbul".

Sources: X-bit Labs, VR-Zone

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Calls for Renewed Focus on 300 mm Manufacturing Innovation

In its effort to meet the ever-increasing demands of consumer technology, the semiconductor industry has long been preoccupied with smaller transistors and larger silicon wafers. While these are important tactics, opportunities for increasing efficiency, becoming more agile, and minimizing waste are often overlooked in manufacturing processes, according to Thomas Sonderman, vice president of manufacturing systems and technology at GLOBALFOUNDRIES.

At SEMICON West 2009, Sonderman is calling for a renewed focus on operational agility in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, particularly in light of increased pressure to move to processes based on 450 millimeter (mm) wafers.

AMD G34 Motherboards Spotted

Some of the first AMD socket G34 motherboards were caught on camera, at the ongoing Computex event, by Inpai. The new socket succeeds the G3MX, which was discontinued in its development process itself. It facilitates upcoming six-core, and twelve-core "Magny-Corus" processors by AMD, which will use HyperTransport 3.0 system interface (for the first time on the enterprise AMD platform), and support the quad-channel (per socket) memory interface. One of the first processors in line for this socket is the based on the "Istanbul" six-core silicon.

The Inventec G34 HPC motherboard (left, below) will be targeted at the server and HPC markets. The two sockets are wired to twelve DDR3 DIMM slots per socket, each array supporting a 256-bit wide (quad-channel) memory interface. The Quanta G34 looks to be more workstation oriented, featuring several PCI-Express slots, and eight DIMM slots per socket. Like Socket F, the new socket physically will be a land-grid array, with pins on the socket, and contact points on the processor package. Its pin-count is known to be 1974.

Source: INPAI

AMD Demos 48-core Opteron Server

Having recently made its plans with the server market public, AMD demonstrated a 4-socket server featuring four 12-core, next-generation Opteron processors. That's 48 cores in all. The company has pulled its six-core Istanbul Opteron processors' launch from H2 2008 to Q2 2008, and is set to launch its Opteron 6000 series processors based on the "Magny Cours" architecture in 2010.

Processors in the series come with 8 or 12 cores. The company seems to be ready with a few of these, enough to put together a 4-socket demo system. While AMD did not run any benchmarks on the system, it managed to draw some attention due to the fact that there hasn't been so much parallelism in a 4-way server till date. On the course of its 2010 launch, the company may hold more demonstrations, perhaps with benchmarks to show how the platform compares to competing solutions from rival Intel. The "Magny Cours" processor will be the first in line for the company's G34 "Maranello" platform for AMD Opteron 6000 series processors with up to 16 cores, 4 sockets, and quad-channel memory interfaces per socket. The 16-core processor in the making is slated for 2011, is based on the Bulldozer architecture, and will be built on the 32 nm process.

Source: Heise c't Magazin

AMD Demonstrates Live Migration between Three AMD Opteron Processor Generations

Continuing its momentum and leadership in virtualization technology, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. today released the first video and images demonstrating live migration across three generations of AMD processors on VMware ESX 3.5, including the Six-Core AMD Opteron processor code-named “Istanbul.” Live Migration of virtual machines across physical servers is key to providing superior flexibility for managing today’s data centers. Additionally, AMD is highlighting its continued, cooperative development efforts with Microsoft as evidenced in Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V, which is available today as a beta and adds support for AMD-V technology with Rapid Virtualization Indexing. The new 45nm Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor provides scalable performance for both Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 and has received support from all four global OEMs.

AMD Istanbul Six-Core Chips On Schedule for 2H09 Release

After showing us working samples of the first six-core "Istanbul" server chips, AMD today hosted some information on its blog regarding the work process on the chips. "The silicon is healthy and we're targeting a launch in 2H09," AMD spokesperson Jake Whitman said Tuesday. "The new 6-core version of the AMD Opteron processor is scheduled to be available in the second half of this year, and it is everything we had hoped for – and more." added John Fruehe from AMD, on his blog.
With the release of "Istanbul" server chips, AMD will try to catch up with Intel and its six-core "Dunnington" processor for servers. The Socket 1207 Istanbul chips will offer an easy upgrade from current 45nm quad-core Shanghai Opterons, while still maintaining the same thermal envelope with even more cores per processor. To watch videos of "Istanbul" in action left click here.Source: AMD Blog, CNET News

AMD Demos First Six-core Opteron Processors Codenamed Istanbul

AMD today gave the first working demonstration of its six-core Opteron processor codenamed "Istanbul." The 45nm Istanbul server chips will succeed current "Shanghai" Opterons. Istanbul processors will use 6MB of L2 cache, and support HyperTransport and two channels of DDR2 memory per socket. The chips will fit into Socket F server motherboards. First live demonstration of Istanbul was performed on two server systems, one running four processors (24 cores total), and the second running with two processors (12 cores). AMD plans to release a full lineup of six-core Opterons based on Istanbul, including low-power HE versions and high-performance SE models, sometime in the second-half of 2009. Read the full story here.

Source: The Tech Report

12-core CPUs From AMD on Their Way

Shanghai, the 45nm core from AMD, is likely to debut late this year. It will be similar in many aspects to the currently-availabe B3 stepping of the Socket 1207 Opteron (Barcelona) shipping today. Unlike Barcelona however, which has its HyperTransport 3.0 clock generator fused off, Shangai should utilize HyperTransport 3.0 for inter-CPU communication. Also, AMD has a new "native six-core" Shanghai derivative in store, currently codenamed Istanbul. This processor is clearly targeted at Intel's recently announced six-core, 45nm Dunnington processor. AMD plans to utilize 2 Istanbul cores to create a 12-core CPU, where both cores will communicate with each other via HyperTransport 3.0. A quad-channel memory controller may also be possible. All new Shanghai CPUs should be backwards compatible with existing Socket 1207 motherboards.

Shanghai is currently taped out and running Windows at AMD.Source: DailyTech
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