AMD details upcoming Bobcat and Bulldozer architectures

By on August 24, 2010, 1:03 PM
Speaking at Stanford University's Hot Chips conference this week, AMD offered up some new details about their most significant processor redesign since the K8 architecture in 2003, which made Athlon 64 processors favorites among enthusiasts. Specifically, the company talked about two x86 processor cores aimed at different ends of the market: Bobcat, which will be a low-power core aimed at netbooks, tablets and other portable devices where it will compete with Intel's Atom, and Bulldozer which will be used in multiple-core server and desktop chips due out next year.

Both micro-architectures form the basis of AMD's upcoming Fusion line of chips that combine a CPU and a DirectX 11-capable GPU completely integrated in the same piece of silicon -- unlike Intel's current Core i3 and i5 processors, which bundle two discrete pieces of silicon on one package, but rather similar to their upcoming Sandy Bridge architecture.

AMD claims that Bobcat can deliver 90% of the performance of today's mainstream chips in about half the area, and touted the ability for the core to run on less than one watt of power by lowering operating frequencies and voltages. Unlike Atom, Bobcat will support out-of-order instruction handling, allowing for instructions to run in parallel and therefore offering improved performance. Bobcat is the processor core that will show up in upcoming 32nm Ontario parts (known as accelerated processing units, or APUs, according to AMD's official parlance) due out in early 2011.


Processors based on Bulldozer will show up sometime next year with up to 16-core arrangements and should perform up to 50% faster than chips based on earlier architectures. The company is focusing on performance and scalability by using a modular design that combines dedicated and shared components: each Bulldozer module actually contains two single threaded cores, which share a floating point scheduler with two 128-bit floating-point math units, but have their own integer schedulers and execution pipelines. AMD believes approach will allow two threads to be processed in parallel much quicker than with Intel's Hyper-Threading technology. As the company sees it, it's multithreading done right.

AMD is promising to share more details during the week. In the meantime, for a more in-depth look at their upcoming Bobcat and Bulldozer architectures you can check out this article at Anandtech.




User Comments: 16

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Cueto_99 said:

Bobcat... that's where we'll see the results of the AMD/ATi merge...

KG363 KG363 said:

Bulldozer...That's where we'll see 16 cores!!!!(even thought that's probably a server model)

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

AMD gl. I want to pay less for more cores. Cores that work.

princeton princeton said:

supersmashbrada said:

AMD gl. I want to pay less for more cores. Cores that work.

AMD's recent 6 cores(pathetic) has shown more cores does not equal better. Even with this It will probably compete with todays i7 and the low end sandy bridge. AMD better put the heat on intel and soon.

KG363 KG363 said:

princeton said:

supersmashbrada said:

AMD gl. I want to pay less for more cores. Cores that work.

AMD's recent 6 cores(pathetic) has shown more cores does not equal better. Even with this It will probably compete with todays i7 and the low end sandy bridge. AMD better put the heat on intel and soon.

well with an extra 50% performance per core, even if that's just the maximum, is still pretty impressive

Cueto_99 said:

...And at a price affordable for the lowly commoner hard working individual, that's just plain bargain

tractorphil said:

I can't wait to build a machine on these new cores!!

princeton princeton said:

well with an extra 50% performance per core, even if that's just the maximum, is still pretty impressive

It's less impressive than you think considering they were a fair amount slower than intels cores before they got the "impressive" boost. That aside maybe bulldozer will bring intels control of the high end sector to an end.

waterytowers said:

This sounds good, I can't wait to see a 16 core laptop. Bring on the cores.

grvalderrama said:

yeah... having more cores doesn't seem to make a difference against any core i7 and some core i5 (let's not forget the <outstanding> core i5 750 product). Amd's missing something else that can really take things to the next level.

princeton princeton said:

This sounds good, I can't wait to see a 16 core laptop. Bring on the cores.

You don't understand. Even if they got the 16 cores in a laptop that would be years away. It's a server cpu. Besides. AMD's 12 core will most likely compete with intels 6 core. More cores doesn't mean better.

yeah... having more cores doesn't seem to make a difference against any core i7 and some core i5 (let's not forget the <outstanding> core i5 750 product). Amd's missing something else that can really take things to the next level.

What AMD is missing is the money to put into R&D. A 12 core cpu wont be that great when it uses more power than an intel 6 core runs hotter than them and performs the same or worse. AMD and ATI are all about slapping more cores onto the same architecture. This better turn that around.

Guest said:

One word - awesome..

Zeromus said:

I really hate how these two companies are separate, but doing really great things.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

You don't understand. Even if they got the 16 cores in a laptop that would be years away. It's a server cpu. Besides. AMD's 12 core will most likely compete with intels 6 core.

The Bulldozer 8 module is as you say, a server CPU.It will be competing against Intels Xeon Westmere-EX server CPU's (LGA1567) which will be 10 and 12 core (20 and 24 thread respectively) in the multi processor server line, and the 8 core (16 thread) Sandy Bridge-EN/-EP/-EX in the entry-level (1,2 and 4P) server arena.

Hopefully the desktop parts live up to the hype, but at the moment it's still all talking heads and slideshows, as it has been for the last three years and counting. It would have been good to have some idea of power consumption, die size, entry date, core speed and basic performance.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

well dbz I'm going to guess 32nm for amd somewhere in the range of 2.4-2.8ghz. 120watts at most.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

You're probably in the right ballpark with the TDP, although from what I hear, some AMD-centric blogs/fans are saying 100w and half the die size of Sandy Bridge...which would make the die 112mm˛ (SB is supposed to be 225mm˛) -less than a third the size of a Phenom II 6-core (346mm˛) -which doesn't seem likely to me. Die size and yield will denote BD's selling price, while die size, transistor density and core speed should give a good indication of TDP.

Would have been nice to get something a little more concise out of AMD. It seems like the semi-annual BD vagueness is becoming something of a saga.

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