The Notebook Roadmap

For mainstream notebooks today AMD doesn’t really offer anything sexy. We have the Tigris platform based on the Caspian CPU (45nm Athlon II X2 derivative) and RS880M chipset with integrated Radeon HD 4300 series graphics (DX10.1).

Next year we get the Danube platform, complete with Champlain CPU (Athlon II X2 or X4 derivative) and relatively similar graphics to what we have now.

Like the desktop roadmap, things don’t get interesting until 2011; that’s when we meet Sabine.

Sabine comes with a Llano APU, just like the desktop, and four 32nm Phenom II-like cores. There isn’t a dual-core mainstream offering for mobile on the roadmap. Llano of course comes with a DX11 GPU on die, which AMD is calling GigaFLOPS-class. I guess we won’t have 4870 level performance on die at 32nm.

AMD doesn’t have a high performance CPU for ultrathin notebooks today. The only options are Consesus and Huron, both first generation K8 derivatives. They’re also fabbed at 65nm so they’re not exactly as small or power efficient as they could be.

Next year this starts to change with the Nile platform. It comes with a Geneva CPU, a lower power Athlon II derivative. That should help fix the performance issues. At 45nm we’ll hopefully see good battery life from the platform.

Come 2011, AMD has another CPU core for us; it’s called Bobcat. I first talked about Bobcat over two years ago, and we won’t see it for nearly another two years, incredible. It’s an ultra low power microprocessor architecture specifically designed for mobile. Assuming AMD didn’t exaggerate its claims, this should be the first real mobile competitor Intel has seen.

Bobcat will appear in the Ontario APU as a part of the Brazos platform. Hooray for more codenames.

If you look at AMD’s roadmap there are a couple of subtle hints to pay attention to. Note that Brazos extends top to bottom from Ultrathin down to Netbook, whereas no other AMD platform has ever completely gone down to the bottom of the Netbook segment. Could this be an indication of AMD’s ability to hit ultra low, Atom-like, pricepoints with Bobcat?

Secondly - the Brazos platform isn’t colored yellow, green or red for 65nm, 45nm or 32nm. I'm guessing that means Ontario will be built on a bulk 28nm process to save cost.

When I spoke to Globalfoundries earlier this year they indicated that fabbing on half nodes could be one option exploited by CPU companies looking to compete with Intel.

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View All Comments

  • Risforrocket - Monday, November 16, 2009 - link

    You are short sighted. Development takes time. What I look for is ...well, development. Development of something new. Innovation. And that's what I'm seeing at AMD. No, they aren't as big as Intel. And you know, if I was the Intel CEO, I would make sure AMD kept going because I would know that Intel vs AMD makes for a better and more interesting Intel. In fact, you should think of Intel and AMD as working together because in fact they are, if you look at it the way I am. AMD just needs to keep trying. Reply
  • Judguh - Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - link

    It's about time they're getting more serious about developing better notebook processors instead of just throwing in athlon's an old turion's just to say they're a part of the show. My Lenovo T400 easily gets 4 hours off it's battery when I'm using it for web browsing and whatnot whereas my friend's laptop barely gives him 2.5 hours from doing the same. Reply
  • Eeqmcsq - Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - link

    Wow for AMD if they pull off Bulldozer with AM3 support. An upgrade from an Athlon II X4 to a Bulldozer X8 would be fun, especially since I can use all 8 cores for stuff I do at work. Reply
  • Inkie - Saturday, November 14, 2009 - link

    Bear in mind that AM3 means only dual-channel DDR3. If you doing anything bandwidth intensive with your X8, that may be a bottleneck. Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - link

    "Velocity also means that even if it’s difficult getting more performance out of a CPU architecture, AMD can always rely on a beefed up GPU core to give users a reason to upgrade."

    I hope this works out for them, because two more years of K10 cores? Damn...
  • Rantoc - Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - link

    First - i'm no fanboy of either of the companies - Its good that both companies exists for consumer prices!

    Please give me a break, never seen such biased article anywhere. Even the first picture in an article about AMD starts with an intel product, what a joke post really. Didn't see that the date was the 1st of april....
  • lifeblood - Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - link

    The article appeared to be balanced and showed no obvious bias. However, the 1st picture in the article being an Intel slide really was a poor choice. It does give the appearance of favoritism.

    You might want to avoid that next time.
  • AnandThenMan - Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - link

    An article talking about AMD's 2010 - 2011 Roadmap, and what is the first image we see? An Intel slide!

    Unbelievable, really.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - link

    While the inclusion of the Sandy Bridge image was simply a tie-in to the text below it, something I always do, it's not my intent to shift the focus of discussion here off of AMD's roadmap and onto a trivial image. I've removed the image so hopefully we can all get back to a good, meaningful discussion here :)

    I've also updated the article with a link to the AMD Bulldozer/Bobcat disclosures.">

    Take care,
  • Inkie - Saturday, November 14, 2009 - link

    I think that it is a shame that you altered your article as the result of a few comments from over-sensitive people in a comments section that many people reading the main article will never read anyway. Reply

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