AMD introduces two new x86 architectures, Bobcat and Bulldozer

By Justin Mann on November 12, 2009, 1:33 PM
Though AMD has taken a beating from Intel in the past few years, the Sunnyvale-based chipmaker has trekked onward. While people speculate about AMD "losing" in the CPU market, the company is still pouring a lot of resources into research and development -- and we're about to see the fruits of their labor. At a financial analyst day event, AMD unveiled a roadmap that details two new processor architectures, dubbed "Bobcat" and "Bulldozer".

Both architectures are x86-based, but represent significant changes in how AMD is designing processors. Bobcat is AMD's new mobile platform and Bulldozer is focused on servers, each branch away from traditional designs to cater to their specific markets. Bobcat, for instance, will feature extremely low power requirements, with thermal envelopes under a single watt.

Without revealing too much information, the company specified that performance was not sacrificed as it often must be on most ultra-low power processors, claiming it is within 90% of modern mobile processor range. Clock speeds, pipeline depth, specific instruction support and other details were left out -- aside from mentioning that they will fully support SSE1, 2 and 3.

Continue reading after the jump.

Initially based on a 32nm process, the new Bulldozer chips will feature multiple sets of pipelines that share a single 128bit FPU, as well as L2 and L3 cache. It's speculated the CPU will be capable of executing a minimum of four instructions per cycle, and quite possibly double that. Unfortunately AMD has been very light on specific details, and were more interested in announcing timeframes than design specifics.

The new CPUs should appear in 2011 -- which gives Intel ample time to adjust their own lineup, so there's no real way to determine how they well respond. AMD made huge waves when they pushed out the (arguably) revolutionary X86-64 instruction set in the K8 architecture. It was one of the few times that Intel ended up following AMD, and marked a point at which AMD held a respectable command of the CPU performance market.

That hasn't been the case for some time, and clearly AMD thinks that radical engineering is the solution. Though it's more than a year away, it's still very exciting stuff.

User Comments: 6

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freedomthinker said:

Oh , man AMD is awesome ! Hehe , you can obviously see that they are trying hard in the game

Guest said:

It's nice to see AMD is still on the game, no doubt the Phenom II helped them to get up after the difficult competition against Intel. The dual integer cluster on Bulldozer is a pretty interesting hardware approach to multithreading compared to Intel's HT and could make the basis for a nifty Fusion platform, keeping the integer operations on the cpu and distributing the fp work on both the single fp scheduler and the future integrated gpu stream units. And Bobcat sounds like it will trash the Atom, specially if AMD packs it with a capable IGP.

The only thing left would be something like intel's turbo to dynamically increase the core speeds when not all cores are required to work by the software, like single threaded applications.

Hope they can surprise us and introduce these designs before the end of 2010.

tengeta tengeta said:

"Check out my Bulldozer dude..."

Awesome architecture name.

Puiu Puiu said:

We need to see a major breakthrough in power consumption or we'll never see any important improvements in CPU's (besides merging with GPU's)

pmshah said:

While they may be able to do some really good stuff with their GPUs and x86 CPUs wht they need to do is cleanup their act on SB7xx series of chipsets. The biggest culprit is theiir iteration of USB function.

I have been facing 2 problems to which neither AMD nor the motherboard manufacturer MSI have any answer. The product I am referring to is MSI K9A2GM-FIH motherboard.

My 16 GB KIngston Traveller thumb drive invariably gives error. I had to resort to a via chipset pci addon card to overcome that problem.

On my USB connected 4 port kvm switch either the keyboard or the mouse (ps2 type) are not recognized. I 90 times out of 100 have to reset the KVM switch to get access to this particular PC. I face absolutely no problems whatsoever on PCs with nVidia and via chipset motherboards.

Appzalien said:

I have two MSI boards one new and one older and have not been happy with either. I won't go into details but AMD is not the culprit here, MSI has gone down the tubes and will probably be out of business soon.

That said, I prefer to give my money to the underdog, so 95% of the PC's I have built have been with AMD processors. Even though I knew the core 2 intels were faster I still went with AMD.

I have the Intel D875PZB motherboard with a Pentium 4 800mhz 2.6gig hyperthreaded processor and its always been a pain in the A, especially if I have to reinstall since it screws up driver installs unless you do it in specific orders and I always forget how I did it before when it comes time to reinstall. I hate Intel, I hate MicroSoft and I like AMD.

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