AMD Shuffles Multicore Plans

Arthur Cole

AMD is about to shift gears in its multicore development program, according to this article on, with a renewed focus on increasing performance without drawing more power and keeping socket design changes to a minimum.


The key change will be a scrapping of the eight-core Montreal processor in favor of a six-core device that still uses the Socket F design of current Opterons. The move provides a reasonably good performance boost and the chips will be less costly to manufacture than a native eight-core device because they are based on the existing Barcelona architecture.


Then in the 2010 timeframe, the company will jump to a 12-core processor, the Magney-Cours, using a multi-chip architecture similar to the one Intel used for quad-core Xeons, and which AMD once dismissed as inefficient.


Meanwhile, the company is still moving forward on its 45 nm Shanghai Opteron quads and has decided to stick with the immersion lithography process rather than the more advanced high-k metal gate technology developed by IBM.


Apparently, the goal at AMD now is to produce technology that delivers a better price/performance ratio for users rather than continue the technological one-upsmanship that has gripped the industry in the past. It's a strategy that might pay dividends, but not if the enterprise community starts to equate AMD with mediocrity.

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May 10, 2008 9:35 AM Louis Savain Louis Savain  says:
AMD is doing the right thing in my opinion. It has to steady the boat in order to to ride out the current storm. And a furious storm it is. The final multicore programming model and architecture is still in the future. CEO Ruiz seems to know what he is doing. He knows that AMD must remain viable while its R&D department is making plans for the longer term, 4 or 5 or more years into the future. Ruiz must already know that the current thread-based parallel programming model is not the answer.Question is, can Ruiz clearly see the future of multicore technology in his R&D crystal ball? Or will he allow his chief engineers sweet talk him into developing yet more me-too technology to compete against Intel's offerings? If Ruiz can really see the future, he must keep the secret close to his vest. There are mean predators out there that are ready to snatch his lunch from his hands before he has time to take a bite. I hope for his sake that he stops looking over his shoulders to see what Intel is doing and be a true technological maverick and industry leader for a change. Good luck, AMD. Reply

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