AMD takes Bobcat, Bulldozer out for a spin

Chip company AMD has released a few more bits of information about its forthcoming Bobcat and Bulldozer chip designs, in a set of releases coinciding with Stanford University's Hot Chips conference this week.Bobcat is AMD's new design for ultraportables and embedded systems.

Chip company AMD has released a few more bits of information about its forthcoming Bobcat and Bulldozer chip designs, in a set of releases coinciding with Stanford University's Hot Chips conference this week.

Bobcat is AMD's new design for ultraportables and embedded systems. Based on the K8 core, it's 64-bit and has the AMD-V virtualisation extensions. AMD isn't quoting any actual figures yet, but claims it's smaller and higher performance than Intel's Atom. As well as the usual fusillade of power-saving techniques such as turning off clocks and power to quiescent parts of the chip, and reducing voltages where possible to trade off performance against watts, the chip's major design aim is to reduce data movement - as movement takes more energy than storage.

Bulldozer is a substantial reinvention of AMD's x86 architecture for "mainstream client and server markets". Bulldozer's design is modular, with the basic core being two single-threaded four-pipeline integer units with their own L1 caches sharing two floating point units and three schedulers. The mixture of dedicated and shared resources is designed to maximise use of silicon in a compact core, and AMD says that it will scale up well as well as be very power efficient.

Many of the details of Bobcat and Bulldozer have previously been released, with AMD promising more later this week. However, the company has given no launch date beyond "2011", and provided only a handful of simulated guidelines to performance.

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