AMD releases roadmap to 2010

May 9, 2008 // 10:31 a.m.

Tags: #amd #cpu #ddr3 #f1 #g34 #hypertransport #instanbul #intel #magny-cours #opteron #processor #roadmap #sao-paolo #shanghai

Chip manufacturer AMD has announced its latest roadmap, and there's some exciting new chips promised to keep Intel on its toes.

Announced yesterday by Randy Allen, the vice president of AMD's Server and Workstation division, the plan outlines the upcoming chips right through to the start of 2010. Allen described the update as a plan for the company to “strengthen its alignment with end-customer priorities.” Whatever that means.

The first signpost on the roadmap is Shanghai, AMD's first 45nm chip aimed at the server and workstation market. As we've mentioned before, these chips are designed as a replacement for the current range of Barcelona chips.

In addition to a die shrink – which helps keep energy usage and heat production down – the chips will feature coherent HyperTransport 3.0 on-board for rapid transfer between processors in an SMP system, along with enhancements to the number of instructions that can be carried out in a single clock cycle. The chips will also enjoy an increase in shared L3 cache memory from the current 2MB to a whopping 6MB, which should go some way to boosting performance. The first Shanghai chips are due in the second half of this year.

Next up we have Istanbul, due in the second half of 2009. Designed as a drop-in upgrade for current Socket F1 motherboards, this chip is a six-core unit aimed at servers and workstations with more than one physical processor. In order to minimise the bottlenecks that can occur in systems with large numbers of logical cores, AMD is planning to implement their Direct Connect Architecture to keep the data whizzing as quickly as possible. Now, I don't know about you, but an affordable twelve-core server has me practically salivating with anticipation.

If you're already bored of the Socket F1 architecture, don't worry: AMD is planning to retire the current Opteron socket layout in favour of the third-generation Socket G34 in the first half of 2010. The new format – aside from requiring you to purchase a new motherboard to keep your server up to date beyond 2010 – will introduce full support for DDR3 memory, and will run on the RD890 chipset.

Now, a new motherboard layout is useless without some shiny new chips to pop in there, so you'll be pleased to hear that the Socket G34 boards will be released alongside a six-core processor known as Sao Paolo, with DDR3 support and multiple HyperTransport 3.0 links. If six cores isn't two-thousand-and-ten enough for you, you'll have the option of investing in a couple of Magny Cours, which will feature all the refinements of the Sao Paolo series but with a whopping twelve cores per processor.

While the roadmap is subject to change and concrete details on anything beyond the Shanghai level are rarer than hens' teeth, it certainly seems that AMD isn't willing to concede the server market to Intel quite yet.

Looking forward to getting your hands on some twelve-core goodness, or are you waiting to see what Intel's response is going to be before planning your 2010 gaming rig? Share your thoughts over in the forums.
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