AMD and GlobalFoundries, CES 2011by Jarred Walton on January 7, 2011 3:30 AM EST
More AMD Demos and Future Roadmap
One thing we didn’t see at AMD is Bulldozer, the CPU architecture intended to bridge the gap between the current K10.5 solutions and Intel’s Nehalem and Sandy Bridge offerings. We’ve discussed some of the specifics of Bulldozer in the past, but we still don’t have anything concrete to report in terms of performance. GF reports that 32nm production of Orochi is going well, and Bulldozer will show up later this year, but there was no hands-on time with BD at CES to report on. Estimates however are that it should provide a drop-in replacement on existing AMD servers that should boost performance by around 50%. If the desktop processors can get a similar performance boost, that ought to put Bulldozer into close competition with Sandy Bridge, and there’s no doubt that a 500GFLOPS GPU core (i.e. something similar to the HD 5600 series) will put paid to Intel’s HD Graphics 3000.
Also present was a single "Llano-like" laptop, but it was only used for a software demonstration from another company. That demonstration consisted of a 3D camera and video camera recording a scene, similar to the Xbox Kinect. The difference here is that the Presentation demo used OpenCL code to process the video signal, analyze the 3D information, and remove the background from the video stream in real time. The result was a sort of blue-screen effect without the use of a blue screen, and the software additionally interacted with a PowerPoint presentation to integrate the presenter with the content—useful for putting the human element into a webcast. The resolution of the 3D signal was such that the outline of the human was a little fuzzy, and the demonstration still tells us very little about Llano performance, but it was still a cool demo.
Brazos is certainly showing uptake at the show, and netbooks should become quite a bit more capable thanks to the design. Going forward, AMD has the Trinity APU that will meld 2-4 Bulldozer cores with a fast GPU core, providing even better performance and flexibility. Where the “Stars” CPUs releasing this year and the Trinity core next year will both use 32nm process technology, it’s interesting that AMD is using 40nm TSMC for production of the Brazos core right now. (This apparently is due to the amount of IP that AMD already has with 40nm GPUs.) Next year, Krishna and Wichita will drop 1-4 Bobcat cores into an APU, and they’ll make the shift to 28nm. We suspect that these chips will shift over to GlobalFoundries 28nm node, though it’s possible AMD could source such chips from both TSMC and GF. Also coming at the top of the CPU performance pile are Zambezi (4-8 Bulldozer cores), roughly in the middle of 2011. That will be followed by Komodo, sporting a full eight Bulldozer cores; neither offering will include an IGP, on the assumption that these high-end CPUs will be paired with discrete GPUs.