Three years ago AMD told me about two architectures that would be the future of the company: Bobcat and Bulldozer. Here are some excerpts from an article I wrote after that meeting with AMD.

“Due out in the first half of 2009, AMD's Bulldozer core is the true revolutionary successor to the K8 architecture. While Barcelona and Shanghai are both evolutionary improvements to the current core, Bulldozer is the first ground-up redesign since the K7.”

“If Bulldozer is the architecture that will compete with Nehalem, Bobcat is what will compete with Silverthorne. Bobcat is yet another ground up design from AMD, also due out in the 2009 timeframe, but it will address a more power constrained portion of the market. Systems that require a 1 - 10W TDP will use Bobcat, while Bulldozer is limited to the 10 - 100W range (obviously with some overlap between the two). “

Well, 2009 didn’t happen. Nor will 2010. Bobcat is the closest with production in Q4 2010 and system availability in Q1 2011. Bulldozer is strictly 2011. The long road to a major redesign isn’t unusual and although we’re no where near the point of measuring performance of these parts, we’re getting closer.

AMD has Bobcat and Bulldozer silicon back in its labs and things apparently look good. Later today at Hot Chips 22, AMD will present further details on both of its next generation architectures. What we have here now is a sneak peak of what AMD is going to unveil at the conference later today.

The Three Chip Roadmap

While AMD is committed to a two architecture roadmap going forward (Bobcat and Bulldozer) we’ll see three fairly different chips addressing the various market segments in 2011.

Bobcat will do low end/low power (think netbooks and nettops), Llano will do mainstream notebooks (e.g. MacBook, HP Envy equivalent) and Bulldozer will be used for high end desktops and servers. Llano actually uses a Phenom II derived core so it’s technically a third architecture but I’d expect its market to eventually be split between Bobcat and Bulldozer based designs.

I’m going to start with Bobcat first as it’s the closest to production.

It’s an Out of Order Atom
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  • Dustin Sklavos - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    Comments like this really bother me. You may not care about netbooks, but a lot of people do. Current ones don't pass the grandma test - your grandmother can do whatever task she needs to on them, like check e-mail, browse the internet, watch HD video - and any advance here is welcome.

    Generally speaking a netbook is not supposed to be your main machine, but something you can chuck into your bag and take with you and do a little work on here and there. I write a lot, and have to work on other peoples' computers from time to time, so a netbook that doesn't completely suck is invaluable to me. Netbook performance is dismal right now, but Bobcat could successfully fix this market segment.

    So no, you're not interested in netbooks and you'd rather be raked through hot coals than purchase one. But that just means they're not useful - TO YOU. There are a lot of people here interested in what Bobcat can do for these portables, and I count myself among them.
    Reply
  • Lonbjerg - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    I don't care that many people care for mediocore performance in a crappy format.
    Not matter what you do with a netbook, it will alway be lacking.

    I don't care what gandma wants (she will buy intel BTW, due to Intel's brand recognition)

    I don't care for Atom either.
    Or i3
    Or i5
    Or Phenom
    I do care about a replacement for my i7 @ 3.5GHz...
    Reply
  • Dustin Sklavos - Wednesday, August 25, 2010 - link

    I'm trying to figure out why you're commenting on any of this at all. Reply
  • flipmode - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    Seriously Anand, it is crummy that I cannot find a whole section of your website. I hate to spam an entirely separate article, but how completely lame it is to have to spend 15 minutes doing a Google advanced search to find the Anandtech article I'm looking for.

    One of the very, very few truly Class A+ hardware sites on the internet - you can count all the members of that class on one hand - and you make it seriously hard to find past articles and you completely OMIT a link to an entire category of your reviews. Insane.

    Please put a link to the "System" section somewhere. Please!
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    Our system section hasn't had a lot of updates, but you can get there via:
    http://www.anandtech.com/tag/systems

    In fact, most common tags can be put there (i.e. /AMD, /Intel, /NVIDIA, /HP, /ASUS, etc.) The only catch is that many of the tags will only bring up articles since the site redesign, so you'll want to stick with the older main topics for some areas. Hope that helps.
    Reply
  • mino - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    "so I’m wondering if we’ll see Bulldozer adopt a 3 - 4 channel DDR3 memory controller"

    Bulldozer will use current G34 platform. Hoe that answers your wonder :)
    Reply
  • VirtualLarry - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    BullDozer sounds like amazing stuff. I wonder, if the way that they have arranged int units into modules, if that means that we will be getting more cores for our dollars, compared to Intel. More REAL cores, I mean. I'm just a little disappointed that the int pipelines went from 3 ALU to 2 ALU, I hope that doesn't affect performance too much. Reply
  • gruffi - Thursday, August 26, 2010 - link

    Integer instruction pipelines are increased from 3 to 4. That's 33% more peak throughput. The number of ALUs/AGUs to keep these pipelines busy is meaningless without knowing details. K10 has 3 ALUs and 3 AGUs, but they are bottlenecked and partially idling most of the time. Bulldozer can do more operations per cycle while drawing less power, even with only 2 ALUs and 2 AGUs. How can that be disappointing? Reply
  • ezodagrom - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    I think Bulldozer has the potential to be really competitive, mainly because Sandy Bridges looks quite unimpressive.
    In a recent leaked powerpoint from Intel, apparently until Q3 2011 the best Intel CPU is still going to be Gulftown based, possibly Core i7 990X. According to Intel benchmarks on the leaked powerpoint, the best Sandy Bridge, that is, Core i7 2600, apparently will be around 15% to 25% better than the i7 870, with the i7 980X being 25% to 35% better than the i7 2600.
    Reply
  • Mat3 - Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - link

    I have a question.. it was earlier speculated that BD would have four ALU pipelines per integer core. It was thought that one way they could make use of them was to send a branch down two pipes and take the correct result. Obviously this isn't the case, but my question is, why not? Wouldn't it be better to do that and just discard the branch predictors entirely? Why isn't that better? Reply

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