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Sunday, 18 July 2010 01:18

AMD tapes out its Bulldozer CPU architecture

Written by Jon Worrel


Mass production to begin in 1H 2011

On Friday, AMD announced that it has successfully taped out its much delayed Bulldozer architecture and hopes to begin sampling working chips with customers shortly. The company's new high-end architecture will be fabricated on the 32nm process at Globalfoundries and is expected to sample throughout the second half of 2010.

We recently reported that AMD's 32nm Zambezi eight-core processor, the first to release in the Bulldozer lineup, will use a modified AM3 r2 socket and should feature 8MB of L3 cache, should support DDR3 1866MHz speeds, and should be paired with the Scorpio platform. The company has also stated that Interlagos is the server codename for its 32nm, sixteen-core Opteron 6000 series processors based on socket G34 which will be paired with the Maranello platform.

According to an unofficial source familiar with the company's server plans, AMD intends to begin mass production of its 12-core and 16-core Interlagos server processors in the first half of 2011. A source at XbitLabs has noted that Interlagos features two 32nm SOI chips codenamed Valencia with six or eight cores on the same substrate.Other versions of Bulldozer with reduced power consumption and increased performance for the desktop market were planned to be produced in the second half of 2011.


"In the second quarter of this year we also taped out the first 32nm product based on our new high-performance Bulldozer CPU core. We plan to begin sampling our Bulldozer based server and desktop processors in the second half of this year and remain on track for 2011 launches. These new processors will deliver significant performance improvements to the AMD platform," said Dirk Meyer, chief executive officer of AMD, during the quarterly conference call with financial community.

To reiterate on the technology development process behind this fabrication stage, the tape out on Bulldozer means AMD has finished the artwork for the photomask of the circuit architecture and has sent it to GlobalFoundries for manufacturing into a physical chip package. Back in October 2009, we hinted that AMD's new architecture should be coming in the second part of 2011. In perspective, this is the company's only hope to catch up with Intel as it continues the Tick-Tock development cycle and replaces its Nehalem architecture with 32nm Sandy Bridge in early 2011. However, nothing is made specifically clear, and the mass production schedule doesn't necessarily coincide with the official launch schedule. This means that the multi-core chips have an equal chance of coming out in the first and second halves of next year. In the silicon manufacturing industry, the average time from tape out to general release for CPUs is about 9 to 12 months, and with a tape out in mid-July 2010, Bulldozer is well on its way to a Q2 or Q3 release in 2011.

Meanwhile, the company has also announced that it will dramatically switch the timing of its dual-core 40nm Ontario and 32nm Llano Fusion production ramps due to slower than anticipated progress of its 32nm yield curve. "Llano production shipments are still expected to occur in the first half of next year," said Dirk Meyer, chief executive officer of AMD, during a conversation with financial analysts. "We have seen the rate of yield leaning below our plans on 32nm, [and] we will take a bit more time to work on the 32nm yields up the curve. So, the effective change to our internal plans on Llano amounts to a couple of months," said Mr. Meyer. More on that here.

AMD is expected to shed some more light on its upcoming Bulldozer and Bobcat architectures at the Hot Chips conference hosted at Stanford University in August.

Last modified on Sunday, 18 July 2010 06:49
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+2 #1 eugen 2010-07-18 05:33
Finally some news after four years of waiting i hope it will be worth it,well see next year zambezi cpu`s how much performance they bring and good changes.
+9 #2 Bl0bb3r 2010-07-18 12:42
4 years of waiting, eugene? HAHAHAHA... Le'me see... how long till the first usable flying car will comes out? I can't wait!!!

8 cores is nice and well, but to many for most of us and the crappy OS's we're running. I don't want 8 core Zambezi... I want something 4 cores max and low TDP. I hate how much these to-heavy-to-big-to-noisy coolers cost!
+12 #3 AMD 2010-07-18 16:24
uhhh.. dame..
That`s a lot of time!!

I`m just wondering and thinking of how quickly unzipping files, antivirus scanning, etc... will be : D
+6 #4 BernardP 2010-07-18 17:06
So, realistically, we are looking at mid-2011 for Bulldozer availability. Where will intel be one year from now? Likely, the current 45 nm i5/i7 will have been shrunk to 32 nm, with higher clocks and lower TDP. Bulldozer will have to beat that.

I have no interest for Sandy Bridge and AMD Fusion CPU/GPU, as I don't want to "pay" (money, TDP, power) for integrated graphics I won't be using.
-4 #5 eugen 2010-07-18 18:46
i am interested about the new architecture and the new set implementation of sse5(partially) and some other instructions on the Performance dose not matter to me the TDP how much is it as long as it will not pass the 140 tdp that first phenomx4 965 has nor how many cores the zambezi will have 3,4,6,8 whatever as long as the performance in calculations per sec will double or triple hopefully,right now every thing on your screen is 80-90% processed by only the cpu,i really hope amd though the bulldozer for performance,yes in 2006 in winter i heard from the internet about the possibility of bulldozer than in time how many revision it`s been trough hope it will be 2x fast as my phenom 955 if not faster.
-2 #6 blandead 2010-07-18 19:05
Quoting Bl0bb3r:
4 years of waiting, eugene? HAHAHAHA... Le'me see... how long till the first usable flying car will comes out? I can't wait!!!

8 cores is nice and well, but to many for most of us and the crappy OS's we're running. I don't want 8 core Zambezi... I want something 4 cores max and low TDP. I hate how much these to-heavy-to-big-to-noisy coolers cost!

If you've noticed the architecture its more like 4 "modules" that has 2 cores inside. its like intels 4 core with hyperthreading except instead of it being useless most of the time... on paper it will be done with real cores and may bring many benefits. It will probly be 125 TDP, probably less when they release the 2 module-4 core version which will at most be 95w or less
+2 #7 Bl0bb3r 2010-07-18 20:49
You've heard rumors, nothing officially back then.

They've been working on this architecture with reduced priority since there was no chance to make it profitable last year give the process and market situation with the recession and all. If they would've tried to launch it last year they would've screws the pooch nvidia style. Yeah, take a good look at that puppy!

And you couldn't be any more obvious! Of course the CPU will process the majority of the tasks it is given, it's the CENTRAL PROCESSING Unit! What the F should it do otherwise? Stand there and look pretty... oh, and use some 100W in the mean time?
+1 #8 Bl0bb3r 2010-07-18 20:50
If you're a rich kid with nothing to do all day then the reasons why TDP, core-count and the rest matter won't... matter. TDP is a figure that's important in more ways than you know. First it dictates the needs for motherboard makers when designing the power circuitry for the CPU. This has both implications on performance and stability of the system, and most importantly on the costs. Take a look at intel boards, 90% of them have more power phases than the AMD line. Why? Because Intel dictates that if a maker want's to build on intel platforms they are abound by contract to supply top notch power circuitry. Nehalen uses on medium 20 phases while amd are stuck a 10, with the only exception being the Crosshair IV line. Not good for performance, but affordable.
0 #9 Bl0bb3r 2010-07-18 20:50
More phases = more stable current = more overclocking potential = more awards = more popular product = better income to support your much-so-needed R&D.

Secondly, it affects power draw. The higher the rating, the higher the power draw which in turn will lead OEM maker to pick the less needy processors and they might very well be from Intel. That, buddy, means less products on shelf and less income for AMD to in your much-so-needed R&D.

If you follow articles like me you would know that low TDP chips, be it CPU, RAM or GPU, are regarded by the OC community as the ideal overclockers. Just read all some of their thread and see how enthusiastic they are about LoVo products.
0 #10 Bl0bb3r 2010-07-18 20:51
Third, the heat and noise output... while there are solutions out there that can take care of high heat and high noise produced by the respective fans, they also add to the total cost of the platform. When you see $200 CPU needing a cooler that costs half or just as much you have just spent your money very very poorly. I know a single Bulldozer core is capable 10 to 100W... and MIND YOU... one single core, that leads me to believe that a low TDP 8 core system might use 110W (8*10W for cores and 30W for L3), so if that's the low end, a high-end dual core? 2*60 + 15 = 125W... one acronym: WTF?

So yes, I am concerned about the TDP... even on today's platforms, and now since a new heatwave hit and I'm seeing my temps up by 5 to 10*C on the same setup I run every day.

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