The chip maker is also planning to offer a six-core processor by 2009 and a 12-core chip by 2010.
Advanced Micro Devices is determined to move its chips to 45-nanometer
manufacturing by the end of 2008.
In a product road map released May 7, AMD
indicated that it is planning to release the 45-nm "Shanghai"
which will contain four processing cores, sometime in the later
part of 2008, although the chip maker is not offering a specific release date
at this point. This processor will contain 6MB of Level 3 cache compared with
the 2MB of L3 cache in the company's current crop of quad-core Opteron
As AMD looks toward 2009, it will release
another 45-nm processor, "Istanbul,"
which will contain six processing cores. In 2010, the company plans to release
two additional processors, which will take advantage of new chip sets and newer
DDR3 (double data rate 3) memory. The first,
called "Magny-Cours," will use 12 processing cores, and the second,
"Sao Paulo," will have
This particular road map addresses AMD's chips
for dual-socket and multisocket servers and workstations. The company did not
offer updates on its PC or single-socket server plans, although a 45-nm desktop
processor, "Deneb," is slated for release in 2008.
The most important part of the road map for AMD,
its partners and customers is the switch from the company's current 65-nm
production to 45-nm later in 2008. The advantages to switching to 45-nm
production are numerous and the change should allow AMD
to produce smaller processors with greater performance that use less power.
It will also allow the company to move to new chip technologies such as
combining the CPU and GPU (graphics processing unit) on a single piece of
silicon in what the company calls an Accelerated Processing Unit.
The new road map also means that AMD is
prepared to stay competitive against Intel in the high-end multiprocessor
system market. For its part, Intel is preparing to release its own
for MP servers later in 2008 before it switches to a new
microarchitecture called "Nehalem."
With Nehalem, Intel plans to erase several advantages AMD
has with its Opteron processor. These improvements from Intel will include a
new high-speed chip-to-chip interconnect and an integrated memory controller.
For now, AMD is looking to move past some
of the problems
that delayed the release of its quad-core Opteron processor
in late 2007. In the last few months, Hewlett-Packard
and Dell have each announced new systems based on the chip and Sun
Microsystems, IBM and Fujitsu Siemens Computers
are expected to follow suit.
One reason Barcelona's problems
initially went undetected was that AMD did
not provide samples to system vendors earlier in the production process. This
meant that design flaws in the silicon went unreported until later in the year.
In its effort to correct the mistakes of 2007, the company has already begun
shipping samples of Shanghai to its
OEM partners for testing and validation, according to Randy Allen, corporate
vice president of AMD's Server and
In addition, all the new processors AMD
detailed May 7 are derivatives of the microarchitecture used with the current
four-core Opteron chip. This means that any problems with the silicon should be
"Shanghai is a derivative
of Barcelona, so it doesn't have
anywhere near the level of logic complexity that Barcelona
represented because it leverages very highly from the Barcelona
core development," Allen said. "We are also engaging our OEM partners
in the system validation early on so that we can incorporate any insights or
findings that they have. In order to accelerate time to market, the key is
finding any bugs or issues as soon as you can and then you have more runway to
incorporate those changes. The thing that kills you is finding a problem late
in the game, and that's what happened with Barcelona."
So far, Allen said the feedback from AMD's
OEM partners has been positive.
Allen added that while AMD is
developing a new x86 microarchitecture-"Bulldozer"-the chips
listed in this road map do not contain that new technology. The road map also
did not include a timeframe for the company's transition to 32-nm