If there was a bright spot in AMD's first quarter, it was the new PC and graphics products that have either recently shipped or are in the pipeline for 2008. Barcelona, the company's quad-core design manufactured using a 65nm process, bombed last year. Meanwhile, Intel is minting millions of 45nm chips. So it's no surprise that AMD is shifting to 45nm processors as quickly as possible.
During the earnings call last week, AMD executives said the 45nm processor, code-named Shanghai, was on track and would be shipping in volume in the fourth quarter. By all accounts, Shanghai is largely a "shrink" of the recently-released B3 version of Barcelona, which corrected a flaw in the original design. But Daily Tech reports that AMD has more ambitious plans for the 45nm design.
Citing AMD engineers, the site says AMD will produce a six-core version, code-named Istanbul, and then, in a reversal of its "native-quad-core" strategy of putting all cores on a single piece of silicon, offer a two-die package with a total of 12 cores. The two processors will be connected using AMD's HyperTransport 3.0 bus.
To be clear, this platform is designed for the server and workstation market. Based on recent presentations, AMD will also release a 45nm enthusiast desktop platform, code-named Leo, later this year that will consist of triple-core and quad-core chips. Mainstream and budget desktops, as well as business systems, will continue to use platforms based on 65nm processors until sometime in 2009.