AMD details roadmap beyond Barcelona

Summary:AMD executives are holding court at the company's Sunnyvale, CA headaquarters before an audience of press and analysts. Of late, AMD has been taking some belly punches as arch rival Intel has gained momentum.

AMD executives are holding court at the company's Sunnyvale, CA headaquarters before an audience of press and analysts. Of late, AMD has been taking some belly punches as arch rival Intel has gained momentum. Last quarter, AMD posted its third quarterly loss in a row, with a loss of $600 million, although revenue increased 13 percent from a year earlier. Shares of AMD have fallen as Intel's have risen. (See Tom Krazit's story on AMD vs. Intel.)

AMD's strategy has three vectors, according to Dirk Meyer, president and COO: energy efficient processing, ultimate visual experience and affordable Internet access.

The overriding message from AMD, as artciulated by Henri Richard, executive vice president and chief sales and marketing officer, was that ultimately AMD will win versus Intel. Richard cited customer preference for AMD, more OEMs adopting AMD and employees as elements that will change AMD's fortunes. The marketeer claimed that the substantial growth AMD has had during his five years at AMD will be dwarfed by the growth in the next five years. He also pointed to AMD's recent endorsement by Gartner, more retail coverage and design wins with Dell and Toshiba as signs of strength. He took a jab at Intel, claiming that AMD allows OEMs freedom to create more distinctive products than they could working with Intel. AMD has no "monopoly tax," Richard said.

Following Richard, Randy Allen, corporate vice president of AMD's server and workstation division, described AMD's processor roadmap, which is where the rubber meets the road versus Intel. Barcelona, Shanghai and the third generation, Sandtiger processor for due in 2009. Barcelona, AMD's 65 nanometer quad-core chip will start shipping this quarter at 2.0 GHz, with faster version due in Q4. Some analysts have said the at 2.0 GHz AMD's performance will trail Intel's forthcoming quad-core, which will be based on 45 nanometer technology.

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Shanghai will be AMD's 45-nanometer version of Barcelona and is due in the second half of 2008, and will include an increased cache size and improved core architecture.

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AMD is developing a new core architecture due in 2009, which with include Hypertransport 3 and DirectConnect 2, which ups Hypertransport links on each chip from three to four and will include an AMD-designed server chipset, partnering with Broadcom and Nvidia. In addition, it will support DDR3 memory, the G3 memory extender, PCI 2.0 and IOMMU.

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AMD also shed light on its new core for the next-generation AMD server processors. Bulldozer is the new core targeting clients and servers build from the ground up, according to AMD CTO Phil Hester. Bulldozer also is focused on increasing performance per watt throughput, continued scaling for single thread performance and partitioning for future scalability and modularity, he said.

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AMD is developing Bobcat, a new core for mobile, ultra mobile and consumer electronics systems. Hester said that software has reached a tipping point in those kinds of devices, and there is a need for a more general purpose processor rather than embedded processors for the IPTV era. Bobcat is also expected in products in 2009, Hester added.

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In addition, AMD is working on a 'fused' client, based on Bulldozer that has a tighter relationship with the GPU (graphics processing unit). "If you put together on silicon the CPU and GPU with a common memory interface, you can set a new standard in terms of efficiency," Hester said.

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Topics: Intel, Processors

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