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.

AMD Meetings: APUs Make a Big Splash (Belatedly) Examining AMD’s Mobility 6000M
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  • Ethaniel - Friday, January 7, 2011 - link

    ... and that's pretty much it. Fusion looks great but we need it in the market pronto (dropping prices as part of the process), and Bulldozer is, well... not there. Meanwhile, Sandy Bridge is laying waste to every single benchmark it touches. Clock's ticking... Reply
  • medi01 - Friday, January 7, 2011 - link

    Well, and what if you don't want to pay 200$ for CPU plus 130-150$ for new motherbord (brilliant marketing move by Intel, nobody bothers to note how much new CPU => new motherboard concept costs) what gives?

    Sandy Bridge is a nice line of CPUs, but pricing, demanding new mobo makes it "oh well" if you are a typical gamer. Investing those hundreds of bucks into GPU is likely to give much greater performance improvements.
    Reply
  • ellarpc - Friday, January 7, 2011 - link

    Medi01 lot's of us are sitting around with cash in hand waiting to upgrade. I've been hobbling my x4 955 around since it came out waiting for the BD bomb. Bulldozer was supposed to be out before 2010. Then they promised to send out samples before the end of 2010. It's 2011and they can't even show a tiny sample of it at CES. That looks bad for the chip being out this year. I don't think I can wait a whole other year for the bulldozer. The i7-2600k looks pretty tasty from where I'm standing. Too bad AMD doesn't see that they may lose potential upgraders if the y wait too long. Reply
  • vol7ron - Friday, January 7, 2011 - link

    agreed Reply
  • azguy90 - Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - link

    Double agreed! I am going to be building a new computer when I get home from Afghanistan, and right now I am planning on a 2600k build, because BD is nowhere in sight. Reply
  • medi01 - Friday, January 7, 2011 - link

    I don't get the point of "upgrade for the sake of upgrade" especially considering you already have moder 4 core CPU. What do you do on your PC that would justify giving out hundreds of bucks for the upgrade? Reply
  • ellarpc - Friday, January 7, 2011 - link

    I have a computer and like be able to give my customers the best advice on the latest hardware. Anandtech helps me out a ton on the items I've never used or sold (i7-980x as an example) but using hardware myself is a big bonus. My wife kids and I are all gamers so as I upgrade my computer I trickle down my hardware to my wife and kids computers so they essentially get upgrades as well. It's a win win for all of us. I have been holding off for longer than usual waiting for word on Bulldozer but it doesn't look like it will happen any time soon. Reply
  • ellarpc - Friday, January 7, 2011 - link

    "computer shop" Reply
  • nofumble62 - Friday, January 7, 2011 - link

    Anyone upgrade their system will have to buy new motherboard nowaday. No difference whether AMD or Intel. Reply
  • semo - Saturday, January 8, 2011 - link

    Atleast with AMD you get more features if not the highest speed (more PCIe lanes, more SATA 3 ports and an actual "budget" range too). Reply

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