AMD is about to shift gears in its multicore development program, according to this article on internetnews.com, 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.