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Keeping AMD’s 2011 Code-Names Straight

AMD’s Bulldozer And Bobcat Architectures Pave The Way
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AMD is juggling a ton of jargon, from far-reaching initiatives to very specific logic designs. The following list should help clarify some of what the company is doing. We’ll start with the broadest concepts and narrow it down to the hardware you’ll see turned into actual products.

Initiatives:

Fusion: AMD is using the word Fusion to describe an approach to processor design and software development, in its words: “…delivering powerful CPU and GPU capabilities for HD, 3D and data-intensive workloads in a single-die processor called an APU (accelerated processing unit). APUs combine high-performance serial and parallel processing cores with other special-purpose hardware accelerators, enabling breakthroughs in visual computing, security, performance-per-watt and device form factor.”

In short, an APU designed according to AMD’s Fusion initiative will include a CPU and a GPU on a single piece of silicon. The improvements an APU are expected to deliver include: enhanced mainstream gaming performance and accelerated video transcoding, to name a couple of specific examples.

Microarchitectures:

Bulldozer: One of two new x86 architectures, Bulldozer will be used in performance desktops and servers. Bulldozer-based modules will serve as the basis for AMD’s next generation of processors. The company has already confirmed that it’ll maintain socket compatibility with existing Magny-Cours-based Opteron processors. Thus, you can expect to see Bulldozer-based CPUs dropping into existing server boards and, likely, Socket AM3 desktop platforms as well. AMD’s target power use for Bulldozer-based chips is between 10 and 100 W.

Bobcat: The second of two new x86 architectures, Bobcat is aimed at the low-power, ultrathin notebook and netbook spaces. Expect Bobcat-based cores to go up against Intel Atom and Via Nano. AMD has aspirations of hitting a sub-1 W power ceiling, though there will likely be models exceeding that figure. Bobcat is designed to be synthesizable, meaning AMD can build it into complementary logic blocks more easily than a processor laid out by hand. In other words, expect to see Bobcat CPUs rolled into AMD’s Fusion initiative.

Platforms:

Sabine: Mainstream mobile platform based on the Llano APU, which will see a quad-core Stars-based CPU and DirectX 11-class graphics processor tied together on the same piece of silicon, manufactured using 32 nm lithography. Sabine is expected to arrive in 2011.

Brazos: Ultra low-power mobile platform based on the Ontario APU, which will see a dual-core Bobcat-based CPU and DirectX 11-class graphics processor tied together on the same piece of silicon. Brazos is expected to arrive in 2011, and will allow AMD to drive netbooks, along with form factors the company’s hardware hasn’t yet appeared in (possibly tablets).

Scorpius: Enthusiast desktop platform based on AMD’s Zambezi processor and discrete graphics (AMD, of course, specifies an ATI GPU). The platform requires a quad-core CPU or higher, DDR3 memory, and a revised Socket AM3 interface. Availability is expected in 2011.

Lynx: Mainstream desktop platform based on AMD’s Llano APU. It’ll feature up to four CPU cores, a single graphics core (integrated onto the APU, naturally), and DDR3 memory. Availability is expected in 2011.

Components:

Llano: This is going to be AMD’s first APU, combining a quad-core Stars-based CPU and DirectX 11-class GPU on a single piece of silicon. It’ll be manufactured using a 32 nm SOI process, support DDR3 memory, and include core-level power gating. Because there are brand new capabilities in play here, it should surprise no one that Llano will drop into a new socket interface. Availability is expected in 2011.

Ontario: While the Llano APU absorbs much of AMD’s risk in shifting to 32 nm manufacturing (since it employs a familiar CPU microarchitecture and more mature manufacturing process), Ontario will be the first APU to employ AMD’s Bobcat CPU microarchitecture. Ontario is manufactured at 40 nm, armed with DirectX 11-class graphics, and expected in 2011.

Zambezi: Per AMD, Zambezi will be the first desktop processor based on the company’s Bulldozer architecture. Featuring as many as eight cores, Zambezi-based offerings will incorporate as many as four processor “modules.” AMD plans to use 32 nm manufacturing, and early reports suggest Socket AM3 compatibility (along with DDR3 memory support). Zambezi is not an APU, but rather is meant to be paired with discrete graphics.

Interlagos/Valencia: Respective code-names for AMD’s upcoming 16-core and eight-core Opteron processors, respectively, both based on the Bulldozer microarchitecture. Interlagos will drop into the existing G34 interface, while Valencia is C32-compatible. Both families will be manufactured using 32 nm SOI lithography, will support DDR3 (including load-reduced DIMMs and 1.25 V memory modules), and are expected in 2011.

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Top Comments
  • 36 Hide
    luke904 , August 24, 2010 7:53 AM
    ok everyone... I swear to god if AMD pulls this one off and bitch slaps Intel again... PARTY AT MY HOUSE!!!
  • 15 Hide
    randomizer , August 24, 2010 10:56 AM
    blink180heightsstill won't be a core i7 920

    Really? Here I was thinking that's exactly what AMD was building.
  • 13 Hide
    buzznut , August 24, 2010 7:34 AM
    Thanks for the great article and valuable information. Someone scolded me for saying I wanted to wait for a bulldozer processor to upgrade. Thanks for clearing this up. Yes, Bulldozer is what I'm waiting for, prolly a Zamboni would be nice.
    By the way, just who the hell comes up with these ridiculous names? I personally think manufacturers would sell more units if they weren't so confusing.
Other Comments
  • 4 Hide
    notty22 , August 24, 2010 6:59 AM
    This will help spur a tick or a tock from Intel :) 
  • 12 Hide
    tacoslave , August 24, 2010 7:23 AM
    dogman_1234No new news here, but I cannot wait until AMD releases "Bulldozer"! The thing that got me was the use of the cores. Really, all AMD needs now is a Commercial. Anybody?


    Put it in a mac, the sheeple will eat this Sh1t up.
  • 13 Hide
    buzznut , August 24, 2010 7:34 AM
    Thanks for the great article and valuable information. Someone scolded me for saying I wanted to wait for a bulldozer processor to upgrade. Thanks for clearing this up. Yes, Bulldozer is what I'm waiting for, prolly a Zamboni would be nice.
    By the way, just who the hell comes up with these ridiculous names? I personally think manufacturers would sell more units if they weren't so confusing.
  • 11 Hide
    Judguh , August 24, 2010 7:49 AM
    dogman_1234No new news here, but I cannot wait until AMD releases "Bulldozer"! The thing that got me was the use of the cores. Really, all AMD needs now is a Commercial. Anybody?

    I'd have to say I partially agree with you. I see way more Intel commercials (many) than AMD (none). My next build: Bulldozer :D 
  • 2 Hide
    SpadeM , August 24, 2010 7:50 AM
    Quote:
    Details being discussed today include a dual-issue x86 decoder and out-of-order execution, perhaps enabling a performance advantage compared to Intel’s Atom CPUs.


    Not quite, the out of order execution WILL enable a performance advantage compared to Atom, + the added bonus that the AMD GPU on the Ontario platform (if similar or better in performance to the ION) WILL again make for a better platform as a hole.

    On the Bulldozer side, Power Gating and Turbo for modules, TST > SMT should be something to look forward.

    PS: On the commercials side I'm looking forward to something like this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK0hU0OYvCI
  • 36 Hide
    luke904 , August 24, 2010 7:53 AM
    ok everyone... I swear to god if AMD pulls this one off and bitch slaps Intel again... PARTY AT MY HOUSE!!!
  • 3 Hide
    joytech22 , August 24, 2010 7:57 AM
    Excellent!! i skipped the Istanbul CPU's because i'm waiting to score on a "Scorpius" platform! and i know 100% that i will be able to afford it on release!
  • 9 Hide
    thomaseron , August 24, 2010 9:10 AM
    Hopefully, Bulldozer will easily outperform my 955BE. So when the time comes, Bulldozer, Northern islands and about 8GB RAM on a new motherboard. :-) I hope Bulldozer kicks the living daylight out of intel for like one or two generations, so we can get som balance on the market.
  • 1 Hide
    thomaseron , August 24, 2010 9:13 AM
    SpadeMNot quite, the out of order execution WILL enable a performance advantage compared to Atom, + the added bonus that the AMD GPU on the Ontario platform (if similar or better in performance to the ION) WILL again make for a better platform as a hole. On the Bulldozer side, Power Gating and Turbo for modules, TST > SMT should be something to look forward.PS: On the commercials side I'm looking forward to something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MK0hU0OYvCI


    I totaly agree on the commersial bit. :) 
  • 3 Hide
    XxOsurfer3xX , August 24, 2010 9:43 AM
    Cannot wait for Zambezi i was thinking of buying a 1095T, now im going to wait and see... C'mon AMD surprise everybody with your new architecture!
  • 2 Hide
    L0tus , August 24, 2010 9:43 AM
    luke904ok everyone... I swear to god if AMD pulls this one off and bitch slaps Intel again... PARTY AT MY HOUSE!!!


    Yeh but Intel also has its new 2011 line-up in the works. I really want AMD to do well but Intel has one hell of a lead in terms of clock-vs-clock performance. But i'm still hopeful...so go AMD!
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , August 24, 2010 10:50 AM
    AMD had a similar lead before 'core' !
  • 15 Hide
    randomizer , August 24, 2010 10:56 AM
    blink180heightsstill won't be a core i7 920

    Really? Here I was thinking that's exactly what AMD was building.
  • 3 Hide
    decode , August 24, 2010 11:20 AM
    Thanks for that, I think that clarify's a few things, not fully. But enough for me to make limited sense of it ;) 
  • 0 Hide
    Reynod , August 24, 2010 11:28 AM
    To quote another user "the future is AMDeal".

    Intel will need to buy a decent Graphics design team to keep up.

    Goodby NVidia ... your about to be assimilated into the collective.

    Chris, I might have predicted this a few times before ...and got it wrong too.

    Great article btw.
  • 0 Hide
    ta152h , August 24, 2010 11:41 AM
    The main question is, when AMD is saying their 16 "core" processor is 50% faster than their 12 "core" processor, are they saying 16 "real" cores, or eight of these units with two execution engines.

    It's good to see they got away from having ports with both AGUs and ALUs. Hopefully they copied more from Intel than that.

  • 0 Hide
    nforce4max , August 24, 2010 12:00 PM
    I can't wait but hate having to upgrade my board and ram. :( 

    AM2+ user :/ 
  • 0 Hide
    ares1214 , August 24, 2010 12:02 PM
    From this, which i saw a long time ago, so not much new, got me all excited for nothing :(  But from this, i dont expect Bulldozer to compete with Sandy Bridge, or the i7. I expect it to be competing with the 980x. Intels charts have that as top dog up until Q3 2011. Therefore, we can guess SB will be more on a middle range. Bulldozer on the other hand, more specifically Scorpius, will be AMD's highest performing chips. Id expect them to take on the 980x, not really intels lower end. Some other chips will be made to do that. And to be honest, I think AMD has a winner :) 
  • 0 Hide
    jj463rd , August 24, 2010 12:14 PM
    blink180heightsstill won't be a core i7 920

    From the looks of it Zambezi sounds like it would outperform the i7 920 if it just used 4 cores except that it will have 8 cores (4 modules).It looks like it might even match or maybe outperform the 6 core i7-980X Gulftown monster.That is if AMD can really execute this properly.
    Will Intel have faster CPU's by then? Probably.
    The real question is will software catch up with this new hardware?
    PC Gaming will be great really great with high FPS with new GPU's
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