Published in PC Hardware

Llano is a quad-core, 32nm chip

by on02 September 2010

GTC 2010: No details on the graphics core
From what we have just learned at the Global Technology conference, a new conference hosted by Globalfoundries, AMD's Llano is a quad-core CPU with a native graphics core.

It is a 32nm chip that will be made in GloFo’s Dresden factory and the core behind the chip is a heavily reengineered K8. Don’t be worried as the K8 core has evolved a lot and it can support automatic overclocking and automatic clock voltage adjustments, but the basic single-core design itself is based on a tuned-up good old K8, or rather four of them.

This is the same core that you can see in some AMD notebook CPUs. While it is clear that the Llano core has evolved past the K10.5 design in some respects, there are also a few twists. We believe that the core should end up similar to AMD’s recently launched mobile Athlon II processors, meaning that it probably has no L3 cache. However, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as AMD’s cache-less Athlons manage to deliver good performance at great prices. Basically AMD’s has proven that cutting out L3 on certain CPUs is a good way of reducing die size and lowering production costs.

Llano should be ready in 2011 as AMD’s first quad-core with 32nm cores and unfortunately it has to go up against Sandy Bridge, a CPU that has a lot of potential in both x86 and graphics performance. However, there’s also a good chance that Llano will end up significantly cheaper than Sandy Bridge, so it could offer better value for money.

Just to stay on the safe side, this is not something that was officially talked at the conference, it was something that we found out asking around, and basically confirming what we mostly already knew. AMD did mention some Llano info and even showed the wafer, but we will try to learn more over the next couple of days so stay tuned.
Last modified on 02 September 2010
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