AMD unveils an ambitious road map that has the chip company rolling out its six-core processor code-named Istanbul in June, ahead of the original schedule. In addition, AMD detailed its plans for 2010 and 2011, which include chips based on the new architecture code-named Bulldozer. The news comes as AMD celebrates the sixth anniversary of its Opteron processor.
Advanced Micro Devices
has unveiled an ambitious microprocessor road map that
has the chip
company rolling out its six-core "Istanbul" processor for large-scale
in June, as well as new microprocessor and platform updates
for 2010 and 2011.
In addition to Istanbul, AMD
plans in the next two years to offer a range of new platforms and processors for
servers that will allow the chip company to take more advantage of
virtualization and that technology's increasing importance to the data center.
Finally, in 2011, AMD
plans to unveil a 32-nanometer server chip that uses a new microarchitecture
AMD plans to offer this
"Interlagos" processor with 12 and 16 processing cores. A second
32-nm chip called "Valencia"
offers either six or eight processing cores.
All these additions to AMD's server chip
road map were announced April 22, the
sixth anniversary of AMD's Opteron processor.
When the original single- and
dual-core versions of Opteron were released, the chip allowed AMD
to better compete against Intel, especially within the multisocket server
AMD originally told customers that Istanbul
would hit the market in the second half of 2009. Now, AMD
is planning to start sending out the chip in May with server systems from OEMs
to follow in June.
The AMD road map also comes at a time
when the company finds itself at a crossroads. On April 21, AMD
posted another quarterly loss as both enterprise customers and consumers cut
back on their purchases of PCs and server systems.
At the same time, AMD has just spun off
its manufacturing facilities into a new company. Meanwhile, Intel
plans to offer a new line of Xeon chips for servers based on the company's "Nehalem"
released its new Xeon 5500 processors in March.
"AMD is letting server customers
know that it continues to be a competitor in the market [after] the launch of
Xeon 5500," John Spooner, an analyst with Technology Business Research,
wrote in an e-mail. "It's doing that by unveiling a number of details
about its Opteron road map, both in the near term and the long term."
In addition to new chips, AMD detailed
what it calls the 2.0 version of its Direct Connect Architecture, which
improves memory and bandwidth by directly connecting memory and I/O to the CPU
and by directly connecting CPUs to one another. In the 2.0 version, AMD
will offer a four-channel integrated memory controller rather than the current
In addition, Direct Connect Architecture 2.0 will offer four HyperTransport
links-this is AMD's chip-to-chip
interconnect technology-instead of the three links found in the current form of
Direct Connect Architecture 2.0 is being offered with an upcoming 12-core
processor called "Magny-Cours." Direct Connect Architecture 2.0,
combined with improvements to AMD's
virtualization and power consumption technologies, should help the company when
it comes to competing with Intel in the multisocket server market, especially
as companies look for energy efficiency and the most processing power for their
"In the near term, what I think AMD
is doing is offering up a greater energy efficiency as well as larger number of
cores for what I suspect will be competitive pricing," wrote Spooner.
"Therefore it's saying, 'We've got more energy efficiency and we can offer
you more cores [per] dollar than Intel!' to the end customer."
In 2010, AMD plans to ship its Opteron
6000 series chips for two- and four-socket servers. The server platform, called
"Maranello," supports the Magny-Cours processor and the G34 socket.
In addition, AMD plans to ship the Opteron
4000 series for one- and two-socket systems. This platform, called "San
Marino," supports the C32 socket and
uses four- and six-core chips codenamed Lisbon.