AMD: You Want More Cores? OK, You've Got It!

Instead of ramping up clock speed, the processor industry is moving towards putting more cores inside of computer chips. We all find this to be a good thing, and AMD recently blogged about a fact that we all think to be true – the more cores, the merrier.

In a post titled, "Cores – More is Better", AMD's John Fruehe, Director of Product Marketing for Server/Workstation, revealed some of the chipmaker's shipment data – information that is usually kept confidential.

"In looking through sales data for the first half of 2010, 12-core processors clearly outsold their 8-core counterparts – by a wide margin. I was expecting that there would be a slight bias towards the 12-core, but I figured there were plenty of applications where the extra clock speed of an 8-core might be popular," Fruehe wrote. "Apparently I was wrong, customers are voting with their budgets, and cores matter."

Fruehe came up with three scenarios that could be driving the demand for the company's 12-core Magny Cours chip over the 8-core version.

VirtualizationMany customers have told me that they have a rule of “one VM per core”, so with 12-core processors, their consolidation can get even denser. With 24 cores in a 2P server, there are plenty of resources to allow all of the VMs to have plenty of access to compute power whenever they need it.

Database/Business Apps-Databases are the kings of simultaneous multi-user access. Having a dozen cores in a socket helps ensure that all of your queries come back quickly, your reports aren’t delayed and when you are making new sales, you’re not waiting behind that bonehead in marketing to finish finding out who bought toothbrushes in Toledo last Tuesday.

High Performance ComputingIf you are breaking a big problem up into millions of smaller pieces and pushing that out to a cluster to solve, having 12 cores per processor means that you can dramatically cut the time involved through parallel processing. Folks like CSCS in Switzerland are taking advantage of AMD’s 12-core technology with their new Cray XE6 system that was recently installed.

This demand for more cores is a good sign for AMD, as the company is set to sample Bulldozer later this year, with roll out for the next-gen chip in 2011.

"That message is very good to hear because next year will see 16 total cores in our Bulldozer-based products," concluded Fruehe.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • nforce4max
    You can add cores till they are looked at as we do gpus today but performance per core really needs to improve and at the hardware level there needs to be in place a mechanism to fool an app or os to think that it is on one or several but fewer than there really is while the work load is shared over several cores at once. Why is simple most apps ect max out 1-4 threads/cores and do not take advantage of this. I would like to see a dual socket platform being aimed for consumer use that is much more friendly.
  • neoverdugo
    Whoa!!! Imagine what will happen when AMD implements its on the home-based desktop clientele. Having more cores can be more efficient in a high level. I gotta upgrade my PC junk (even though it has been nearly 5 years now)
    I wonder what will be Intel's counter-offer besides Sandy-bridge?
  • You obviously don't know anything about distributed computing, engineering or programming in general. Go read a few books on the subject, or take some classes, then make comments.
  • ricardok
    I really wish that MS/Linx variations/OSX created a SO that would see all this cores as one so that ANY app can be used (even if it's not enhanced to multi-cores) and the OS takes care of the 'virtualization'...
  • coopchennick
    Instead of ramping up clock speed, the processor industry is moving towards putting more cores inside of computer chips. We all find this to be a good thing,...
    Wrong. People have been somewhat vocal about rather having ramped up clock speeds than more cores. Oh well though, now we are just waiting until coding will actually make good use of the cores.
  • BulkZerker
    Honestly who needs more than 2-3 cores for general usage? Id love to have a octa core which would allow me to run a Dedicated server on top of a game but let's be honest. The 140 watt processors are just too hot to run in a oem type setup at anything over half load for extended periods of time.
  • FLanighan
    lol too bad an intel 6 core > amd 12 core

  • zachary k
    what ever happened to clockrate? or are we just ignoring that and just going for more cores.
  • schmich
    Flanighanlol too bad an intel 6 core > amd 12 core lmaoYou wanted to point out > in price right?
  • photog10
    meh..AMD has long been out of the picture..after the i7 took off, AMD just can't stay in the game..As much as I would love an AMD option, i7 is the right choice. If you look at benchmarks, there's no product that will stand up to the's a shame really. WAKE UP AMD!!!