Friday, May 9, 2008

AMD Plans 12-Core Server Chip In 2010

Advanced Micro Devices on Wednesday introduced its two-year product roadmap for servers and workstations, saying it would release its first six-core chip next year and a 12-core processor on a new platform in the first half of 2010.
The new products, codenamed Istanbul and Magny-Cours, respectively, would be 45-nanometer processors versus the 65-nm products AMD ships today. The number refers to the size of transistors on a chip. The smaller the size, the more transistors that can be packed on a single die, boosting overall performance at the same or lower power consumption.
AMD is on target to ship its first 45-nm server chip, codenamed Shanghai, in the latter part of this year, which would be about a year after Intel shipped its first products using the next-generation manufacturing process that makes it possible to shrink transistor size. Shanghai will be a four-core processor that delivers 25% better performance than the company's current 65-nm quad-core Opteron, formerly known as Barcelona. Shanghai also will ship under the Opteron brand.
Shanghai will use up to 20% less power during idle time than Barcelona and have 6 MB of L3 cache, which is twice the overall cache of its predecessor. In addition, Shanghai's support of DDR2-800 memory translates into a 10% boost in bandwidth.
Nevertheless, the Shanghai design is "incremental in nature" from Barcelona, which represented a platform overhaul for AMD, Randy Allen, AMD's VP for servers and workstations, told reporters during a teleconference. Shanghai will use the same Nvidian nForce 3600/3050 and Broadcom HT-2100/1000 chipsets as Barcelona, and fit into the same motherboard socket, so computer manufacturers and corporate customers can reap the performance benefits without major changes in current systems. "The platform won't need to be touched," Allen said. "Just drop in the new processors and update the bios."
The platform change will occur with the release of the 12-core Magny-Cours and six-core Sao Paulo, both set for the first half of 2010. Magny-Cours will comprise two integrated six-core chips. Up until this product, AMD has placed all cores on a single die. The new product will have 12 MB of L3 cache, while Sao Paulo will have 6 MB of cache. Both will use version 3 of the HyperTransport technology, which will deliver a 4x performance boost in bidirectional data movement.
Both chips will run on AMD's next-generation platform, codenamed Maranello. In addition, the processors will use new chipsets: the AMD RD890S, the RD870S, or the SB700S.
Between Shanghai and the Magny-Cours/Sao Paulo release will be AMD's first six-core server chip, codenamed Istanbul, which will ship in the second half of 2009. The 45-nm processor, which will have similar specifications as Shanghai, including 6 MB of L3 cache, will not offer a "significant boost in CPU performance," Allen said. The improvements will mostly be in memory technology.

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